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Marketing is a highly crucial concept in any business since it influences the chances of survival for a business. Much effort is required to ensure that business maximizes on advertisements, in order to increase sales and raise profits. In this regard, integrated marketing is one of the most efficient modes of advertising. This approach seeks to unify different methods of advertising like mass, direct, and one-to-one marketing with the main objective being to complement and strengthen individual methods (Mon & Carla, 2005). All marketing strategies of an organization are brought together under integrated marketing. This is to effect synergy in marketing; thus, serving an organization better.
The use of mass media is one of the many marketing tools in advertising. It is common in almost all parts of the globe with many business organizations relying on it heavily. France is among countries where mass media advertising has received a warm reception. This method of advertising is increasingly becoming famous in France because of its effectiveness. However, the mass media industry in France operates differently in a number of ways, as compared to other countries like the United States. These differences are based on various principals of advertising and cultural backgrounds in various countries. This paper seeks to analyze different forms of advertisement used in France in relation to marketing in the United States.
Status in the Use of Mass Communication to Advertise in France
The advertisement industry in France has experienced rapid developmental changes since 1945; since, the discourse in advertising has been dynamic all along. Various forms of advertising have evolved with technological advancements and changes in the way people communicate. Therefore, France has experienced a change in its cultural and ethical values due to changes that have come with the different forms of communication (Unknown Author, 2008). The main forms of advertisement in France are print, television, and radio. There is also a considerable use of the internet for advertising goals. However, the traditional forms of advertising in France are still conspicuous. They are the cinemas, radio, television, press, and the outdoors advertisements. The fifth form cannot be said to be traditional because it has been associated with the recent advancements in technology. This method uses electronic technologies, which have become increasingly relevant in France since Minitel was launched. In this regard, the forms of advertising in France cannot be said to be unique to those in the US per se. This is because most of these forms of advertisement are also used in the United States, although to different degrees. For instance, there are fewer regulatory mechanisms of advertisement as compared to what is used France. This means that there are effects that come with such regulations, thus, affecting these forms of advertising.
Advertisement Agencies and Regulation of Advertisement in France
With the increased competition among different advertising agents across the globe, advertising agencies in France have devised a way to keep them in business. Agencies such as Havas, EURO-RSCG, BDDP, and Publicis still command the biggest share in the national markets (Unknown Author, 2008). This position was achieved after agencies like Havas-EUROCOM and Roux-Séguéla-Cayzac-Goudard (RSCG) merged in 1991, thus, making their command more significant. However, the position of advertisement agencies from France remains modest on a global level. These agents are subjected to a number of regulatory measures put in order to control advertising. The most affected form of mass communication in France is the television advertising. For instance, the TWF directive allows media houses to use an average of 9 minutes for commercials per hour, with a maximum of 12 minutes (Anderson, 2005). This regulation is commonly used in the European countries implying that there could be variations depending on a country. France has been recognized as one of European countries that have cut the time supposed to be allocated for commercials to as low as 6 minutes. This was only at some point, because the current time goes up to 12 minutes per hour.
Regulation in the French advertising also focused on alcohol advertisements. This was after the government discovered how different companies were advertising alcohol beverages without any control. In this regard, four regulatory measures were created. For example, the Code 'de bonne conduite pour la retransmission télévisée d'événements sportifs' was staged to control advertisement of alcohol products using sports (Janeen, 2009). Such regulations target the truancy in the advertisements as a principle in advertising, to avoid the use of exaggeration to obtain favor from innocent people. Culture is also safeguarded in France, because there are stringent measures that ensure that advertisement is morally acceptable. However, studies done in France showed that the use of sexual appeal in advertising was used more often in France than in the United States. Although this is associated with the mortality of a society, France is more sex liberated than the United States (Janeen, 2009). This means that using sexual appeal is not a big issue in France.
Regulatory instruments in France are also against all forms of political advertisement using the mass media. France is among a number of European nations that utterly disallow paid political advertisements (European Plattform of Regulatory Authorities, 2006). This involves banning mass communication media from advertising any message that involve payments. This means that the only form of political advertisement that is allowed in France should be free or should not benefit the advertising agent financially (European platform of regulatory authorities, 2006).
In the United States, regulation is also done along similar lines. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the responsibility of enforcing the state laws on advertisement, in order to ensure that competition laws are followed. Together with the department of justice, the federation ensures that advertising agents do not disseminate unsubstantiated, deceptive or false information in any claims of an advertisement (Azcuenaga, 1997). Regulation measures in the United States are centered towards combating fraud, unfairness, and deception.
French Response to American advertising
Advertising from other parts of the world has received a mixed reception in the French environment. Mass communication in France is seen as vulgar from a cultural point of view (Unknown Author, 2008). Successive generations of intellectuals in France have accused mass communication for being derogative. According to Mon & Carla (2005, p. 29), effective advertisement should not impart a negative effect on the social and cultural practices of a society. Such effects on the French cultural and social environments determine how westernized forms of advertisement are perceived in France. However, this started changing when some high profile French intellectuals started embracing new Americanized ways of life.
The younger generations started expressing their enjoyment in the use of shared mass media in advertising. This changed the perceptions held against American ways of advertising. In this regard, there are night events called ‘la nuit des publivores’ in which advertisements from different parts of the world are displayed to the attending crowd (Unknown Author, 2008). Although, the French population has adjusted their perceptions on the American form and use of mass media in advertising, the more educated populations are still suspicious. This means that the French response to American advertising in France is only positive among the younger generation than the elderly.
Advertising in France using the mass media borrows much from cultural disclosures from other parts of the world. This implies that the field is now experiencing a mixed array of cultural changes, like the use of language-specific creativity. Such advertisements have many slogans from different languages, especially where riddles are used (Anderson, 2005). Therefore, linguistic innovations are quickly encroaching into the French markets, meaning that a number of languages are now used. This change has occurred in recent times, because the law did not allow the use of foreign languages. A good example of these old laws is the 1994 Toubon Law that banned the use of foreign words in advertising in the mass media. In recent times, a combination of English and French, known as Franglais, is gaining popularity in mass advertisement and the French media. However, this irritates people who are considered supporters of the la langue française (Unknown Author, 2008).
Advertisement in France is also sensitive to the principles concerning children and youth. Advertisements should be sensitive to the target groups in order to ensure that it does not affect a society negatively (Mon & Carla, 2005). A criminal code that protects the children and the youth against harmful advertisement is in place; this implies that there are advertisements aimed at children. Children advertisements are those that focus on games and other forms of entertainment. Children are targeted by such adverts in the sense, that they are scheduled for times, when children are able to understand them. In addition, there is control of such advertisements, to avoid materials like pornography. On the other hand, the American advertising filed is also associated with certain regulations targeting children. Recently, some of the biggest food and beverage companies proposed a new law to regulate themselves in advertising products related to children (Seidman, 2011). This is called the nutrition criteria, which was passed by the United States Congress to safeguard children’s health. These children advertisements seek to promote foods, such as juice, soups, dairy products, and grains.
In conclusion, the use of mass media for advertising in France has experienced changes in recent times. Most of these changes are shaping the advertisement environment in different forms, most of which are American in origin. As much as these changes are happening, there is a considerable opposition to some of them, because France is culturally attached to its norms. Advertising, using the mass media in France, is also tightly regulated, as compared to the US. This could be because of the cultural inclination of the French. However, several changes are happening; thus, making regulations more conversant with the modern marketing methods, such as using foreign languages. If France is going to adopt some of the modern ways of advertising, then it is guaranteed to reach a broad spectrum of targeted groups. In addition, harmonizing its control systems with those of the rest of the world, like the US, will earn it a better commercial position in the world. In other words, France should devise new advertisement modes that accommodate modernity, as evidenced in the rapid changes of doing business due to globalization.