BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The success of any product depends upon its ability to attract customers and make sales for the manufacturer. To do this, a business must find, understand and communicate with present and potential customers where they live, work and play. Advertising is considered as an aspect of communication used by marketers to drive home their message about the availability and usefulness of a product. The desirability or otherwise of advertising as a potent and reliable instrument of the marketing mix has generated a spark of controversy. These controversies have resulted in the postulations of different viewpoints. While some see it as being of paramount importance to the marketing process, others criticize it as an economic waster resulting in rising products costs.
Advertising simply concerns all the ideas, processes, methods, or ways someone can make known to somebody the availability of products and services which have sales value. It is information and awareness presented in the most persuasive form. Advertising does not suddenly push someone to buy without reasoning, rather it’s message combine with other variables like human needs, wants, orientations, costs, etc to have a consumer make a decision about a product or service. Advertising is seen as one indispensable pillar of the marketing mix premised on the fact that a producer conceiving of a specific product or service, does so on the pretext that some groups of people located in some places would want to buy, or can be stimulated to buy the product. But they cannot do so if they are not informed about what is in the product that makes it unique and can satisfy or benefit the buyer. Creating this kind of link between the producer and the buyer in the most coordinated or strategically managed ways shows the importance of advertising in marketing. Kaynak (1989:74).
Advertising is a tool and like most tools, it is a working instrument in the hands of advertisers to bring to the knowledge of consumers the presence or availability of a product or service. It sensitizes the sensibilities of the consumers, not only to be favourably disposed towards a product or service by way of purchase but to maintain consistency in consumption patterns by way of sustained loyalty. In the words of Emmanuel Akpan (1990:6), it is skillfully designed to appeal to the senses – eyes, ears, touch, and soul – such that when the advertised product or service it felt, the target of the advertisement has no alternative than to go for it. It is a demanding art form of human motivation and behaviour.
According to Mboho (1990:163) observes that:
“When an advertiser, the producer or even the mass communication shows concern about the content of his message, he is in fact recognizing that information has potential persuasive powers on any audience, and he knows also that the audience’s reaction to information is not only dependent on contents, but also on factors that are psychological, social or environmental. For instance, the fear of the persuasive and corruptive possibilities of communications, and advertising in particular, lies behind much of the public concern over their control, or lack of it.
In fact, Mboho’s observation reflects Paul Steren’s idea that the advertisers use all kinds of gimmicks and subterfuge to attack weak spots emotionally in the message receiver. He uses products to soothe the ego of the receiver. He uses weasel words to achiever his aim. A weasel word has the function of enabling the copy writer say something he intends to say without making a forthright declaration. (Stevens, 1972). It appeals to the emotions of the consumers, making them restless and inducing them to take action. Advertising occupies a large chunk of the economic subsector. For example, Mboho (1990: 164) holds the view that: “Advertising is big business, it is everywhere, it is easily identified from personal selling, it invites both virtues and criticisms”. In modern times producers seem content with advertisement that merely identifies or inform without the major objective of persuasion thus restricting the scope of advertising from adequate conveyance of its purpose. However, it must be pointed out that advertising is a basic persuasive tool that has the communication task or goal of reaching a defined audience to a given extent during a given period with a message.
In line with helping products or services to be sold, advertising realizes certain functions such as increased sales of products, developing and expanding the market; reducing distribution cost, building brand goodwill and loyalty; motivating increased productive effort etc. These functions are geared towards the results expected from a successful implementation of advertising programmes. The objectives of advertising deals with the specific means by which advertising functions are carried out; and these are:
– Produce awareness and knowledge about products and services.
– Creating liking and preference for products and
– Stimulating thought and actions about the product.
The primary mission of advertising is to reach prospective customers in order to influence their awareness, attitudes and buying behaviour. To do this, an advertiser must make the marketing process work at it’s highest level of efficiency. “A major objective of many advertisers is to produce the phenomenon known as consumer loyalty which comes directly from the habit of repurchasing” Bovee and Arens (1992:140). This leads us to the essence of this research effort which is as determination of the place of advertising in the sustenance or otherwise of consumer loyalty. A study which has it’s pivot students’ consumption of Fanta in UCP given their exposure to different media of advertising especially newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
1.1.1 Background Information of Fanta
Fanta is a global brand of fruit flavoured carbonated soft drink created by the Coca-Cola company. There are over 100 flavours worldwide. The drink originated in Nazi Germany under trade embargo for Coca-Cola ingredients in 1940. It originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo. To circumvent this, max Keith, the Head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredient available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace the “leftovers of leftovers” as Keith Later recalled.
The name was the result of a little brain storming session which started with Keith’s exhorting his team to “use their imagination” (Fantasie in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp immediately retorted “Fanta”. The plant was effectively cut off from Coca-Cola headquarters during the war. After the war, the Coca-Cola Corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product as well as their plant profits made during the war. Fanta was discontinued when the parent company was reunited with the German branch. Following the launch of several drinks by the Pepsi corporation in the 1950s, Coca-Cola competed by re-launching Fanta in 1955. The drink was heavily marketed in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Of the many problems of advertising practice in Nigeria today, what really stands out is the seeming inability of many a practitioner to fully appreciate the important role advertising research and campaign can play in the buying decisions of consumers; how the persuasive elements of the message are determined; the media used; or what, perhaps is the most effective medium. Many advertising campaign seem to be unaware of the relevance of data for their campaign strategies, resulting in the production of off-target advertisement without taking into consideration effect of other brands on consumer behaviour. Fanta campaigns have always stood out among others. It is not certain whether brand loyalty is as a result of Fanta’s advertising campaigns. Thus, what is the role of advertising in the sustenance of consumer loyalty to Fanta? The research seeks to answer this question through study of student’s consumption habits of Fanta in Uyo City Polytechnic.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of the study;
1. To determine how Uyo City Polytechnic students perceive Fanta Advertisement.
2. To evaluate the persuasive in the campaign text.
3. To determine the most effective medium of Fanta advertisement to Uyo City Polytechnic students.
4. To assess if these advertisements have actually influenced brand preference and loyalty.
5. To ascertain if the advertising of other brands of soft drinks affect Uyo City Polytechnic students buying behaviour.
1.4 Research Questions
This study seeks to provide answers to the following questions.
1. What impact does Fanta Advertisement have on student’s consumption patterns?
2. Does the advertisement possess enough persuasive elements to stimulate patronage?
3. What is the most effective medium used by Fanta in reaching its customers?
4. Does Fanta advertisement actually help in sustaining brand preference, or consumer loyalty?
5. Does the advertising of other brands affect the buying behaving of Uyo City Polytechnic students towards Fanta?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Perceptual influences, learning, motivational factors help shape consumers attitude, behaviour, towards preferring a particular brand or remaining loyal to it. Although advertising seeks to promote patronage by moving customers through unawareness, awareness comprehension, persuasion, action. It is difficult to pin point, in a very precise manner, the effect of advertising on product marketing because the study of effective advertising is rather subjective. The study of advertising and consumer loyalty, first, will enable manufacturers of Fanta to determine when and if patronage is positive. This information could then enable them engage in mass production resulting in lower unit cost of the product. This, in turn, may result in lower prices for consumers. It will also enable manufacturers stress those features that make their products better than those of competing firms. This could be achieved by emphasizing the product’s unique selling proposition (USP) – whatever material advantage that the product possesses over others.
Second, this study would help advertisers know the attitude of Uyo City Polytechnic student’s consumers of Fanta. This knowledge could influence manufacturers to improve on contents and distribution channels, so as to attract and sustain customers. Third, it will provide students an insight into the activities of Nigeria bottling company- bottlers of Coca-Cola; promotional activities of the company; and media through which knowledge of these activities are highlighted.
Fourth, future researchers would have been provided with yet another base from where further incursions into the area of advertising and consumer loyalty could be made. Thus, this study would be of relevance to the manufacturers, consumers and interested scholars.