GRE Argument Essay 71

The following appeared in a memo from the sales manager of Eco-Power, a company that manufactures tools and home appliances.

“Many popular radio and television commercials use memorable tunes and song lyrics to call attention to the products being advertised. Indeed, a recent study of high school students showed that 85 percent could easily recognize the tunes used to advertise leading soft drinks and fast-food restaurants. Despite our company’s extensive advertising in magazines during the past year, sales of our home appliances declined. Therefore, to boost company profits, we should now switch to advertisements featuring a distinctive song.”

The sales manager of Eco-Power has made an analysis of the advertising methods adopted by some soft-drink companies, fast-food restaurants and his own company. A casual reading of the memo seems convincing, but a careful reading brings out some loopholes in the argument. The argument is flawed in many places and one cannot accept the statement of the sales manager.

The study mentioned was carried out on school students. School students seldom pay any heed to advertisements of tools and home appliances. They are more likely to remember soft-drinks and fast-food restaurants, irrespective of the advertisements. The result of the study would only indicate that the students have knowledge of the product; whether they endorse the product or not cannot be said on the basis of their mere recognition of the tune of the advertisement.

Besides, the sample size of the study is not mentioned. Had the study been carried out on a large sample covering various age groups and people from different backgrounds, it would hold more value.

The comparison between food products and home appliances is illogical. There is no similarity between the two. The advertisement of a drink or a food joint would be related with songs for showing celebrations, whereas an advertisement of a tool or an appliance would be related with house keeping, which is not as likely to catch the attention of young children. Moreover, people frequent food joints often and give instant verdicts on them. The same is true in case of soft drinks. Thus, the popularity of a drink or a food joint is easy to calculate. On the other hand, people take time to give their verdict on a home appliance. They shall use the product for months before they can support it or recommend it. Hence, the result of advertising and the popularity of a home appliance take time to show effect.

The relation that the sales manager is drawing between advertisement and sales is weak. His argument seems to be based on the assumption that more impressionable advertisements lead to more sale. This need not be true. Advertisements are meant to increase awareness. There is no guarantee that if a consumer is aware of a product, then he uses it as well. It is possible that consumers are very much aware of the products of Eco-Power but they do not prefer to use the same for other reasons. In fact, the sales manager himself mentions that the company advertised through magazines in the past year but still the sales declined. Advertising through magazines is also an effective source of informing consumers. In fact, magazine advertisements are more elaborate and descriptive. If the sales of the company’s products declined in spite of magazine advertisements, then there is sure to be some other reason for the same. It is possible that the ads in the magazines were not attractive or descriptive enough. It is also likely that the magazines used for advertising were not as popular. There is no description of the ‘extensive’ measures taken for advertising by the company. An explanation of the same would give more footage to the efforts made by the company.

The author concludes that using a popular song for advertising would boost the company’s profits. He draws a direct relation between advertising and profits. The author’s logic here is again questionable. He seems to assume that advertising is the sole measure required to boost sale. There could be more factors affecting the sale of the company’s products. No doubt advertising does have an impact on the minds of people. They are attracted towards the product and are likely to use the appliances advertised. Nonetheless, there is no certainty that this would increase the profits of the company.

Had the sales manager taken the case of some other similar company or had he given more concrete evidence in support of his claim, he would be logical in his arguments.