The Difference Between a Notice & an Advertisement

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Looking through newspaper advertisements.
Looking through newspaper advertisements. (Image: Devonyu/iStock/Getty Images)

Notices and advertisements both seek to inform the public, but to fundamentally different ends. A notice limits itself to pure factual information, while an advertisement seeks to entice the consumer to a purchase action.

Notices

Notices, more commonly known as public notices, typically appear as blocks of text in print periodicals or online. The text serves to convey information about government actions, business activities and environmental issues that bear on the lives of citizens. For example, a city council might issue a public notice announcing a public hearing about whether to allow a business to engage in a potentially harmful activity, such as oil or natural gas drilling in the area. Based on that information, the citizens decide whether or not to take any action in relation to the public notice.

Advertisements

Advertisements aim to convince consumers to purchase a specific product or brand. An advertisement for a locally-owned pizza restaurant, for example, tries to convince consumers to buy its pizza rather than a pizza from somewhere else. Advertisements employ persuasive language to cast the business, product or service in the most favorable light and make it more appealing. Although advertisements cannot intentionally deceive by providing false information about a product, they receive considerable latitude in how they go about making a product or service appealing. A soft-drink advertisement, for example, might focus on taste rather than draw attention to its calories or sugar content.

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