Advertising is classified into three types: informative, persuasive and reminder. Persuasive ads are used to advertise established products and services in an attempt to get consumers to switch brands. Reminder ads are used for established products and services to keep the name in front of consumers. Companies use informative advertising to introduce a new product or service or to inform consumers when an existing product or service is altered. Federal laws mandate that commercial advertising cannot be deceptive, unfair or false.
Informative advertising is used when a company launches a new product to educate consumers about the features of the product. Initial advertising campaigns for new products or services generally provide more information up front. For example, an informative advertisement for a new automobile may stress safety features, a powertrain warranty and gas mileage as the primary product assets in an attempt to attract consumers. A competitor launching a similar product may choose to advertise a list of standard features that are typically optional or extra in other vehicles, such as a rear seat DVD player and heated seats.
When a familiar product or service undergoes a modification, companies will use informative advertising to notify consumers of changes, such as added or enhanced features. A common example of this type of informative advertising is a smart phone upgrade. A typical ad may provide information on the phone's operating system, processor speed, screen size and any enhanced features that vary from the previous version of the product.
Some informative advertisements are not obviously presented as such. For example, an author may write an opinion piece on a particular product or service or on a business as a whole. The article may then be presented to readers on the opinion pages of newspapers or in magazines without full disclosure to consumers of the author's connection to the company being touted. Although a commercial enterprise is being promoted, the author's rights are protected as free speech whether the material is biased or not.
Some companies are required by law to provide significant information to consumers when advertising certain products. For example, pharmaceutical companies advertising prescription medications must provide extensive information on the product, regardless of the media type used to convey the advertisement. Ingredients, side effects and contraindications of the drug are among the required elements in the informative advertisement. Companies advertising tobacco products are also required to include certain information, such as health warnings, in all ads.