Marketing of Education: Semiotic Analysis of Allied School and The Educators Paid Advertisements on Pakistani Television Channels.


Byline: Ayesha Ashfaq, Savera Shami and Saba Ijaz


"Creativity without strategy is art. Creativity with strategy is advertising" (Richards, 1998).

Starting from the word of mouth to current online advertisements, creativity and advertisement are associated with each other. Creativity enhances and develops the ground of advertising. The advertising is not a new phenomenon. In fact advertisement became the component of society with the start of civilization. In the early days people used to communicate about their products to others through face to face communication or by sending town criers. Later advertising was done through clay tablets, papyrus posters, wall or rock advertisement and other sources as reported by archaeologists. But at that time the impact of advertisements was at small level and very minimal (Naveed, 2016).

The real era of impactful advertising began with the invention of printing press and it continues to develop with progression in media forms. But amusingly, after observing the history, the fact is clear that advertising has constantly been sluggish to make use of novel medium. As first advertisement published on a newspaper after100 years of its publication. And it took five and 13 years by advertisements to reach radio and television medium respectively after their inventions. Advertisements also become part and parcel of new media which are introducing new forms of advertisements and bringing revolutionary changes in advertising industry.(PAS, 2013).

Moving from print advertising to cinema advertising, from TV advertising to online advertising, Pakistan advertising industry is gradually mounting. Although past of the industry was gloomy but the present state of the industry is pointing towards bright future. In current scenario all forms of media depend on advertising for their survival. As in one hour of drama, talk show, news or any other program, almost more than 15 minutes areal located to advertisements which are increasing day by day. Even in the print media the news and advertising ratio is competing with each other. The Mobilink Nargis Fakhri's and Ufone Faisal Qureshi's ads on the front page of leading newspapers are some examples that point toward prominences of ads in print media.

The investments on advertising is also escalating as in 2010, 30 Billion Pakistani Rupees spend for the purpose of advertisements. Out of which 58 % are spending on TV ads which make television as popular advertising medium in Pakistan. Although telecommunication ads are leading the industry according to reports but television advertising includes almost every type of products. From food to clothing and from real estate to education institution everything is advertised on television(Siddiqui, 2011).

Education is the most significant foundation of any society. Education made a society civilized. It is the important duty of state to provide education to its citizens as it is also mentioned in the constitution of Pakistan that government should endow with free of charge and obligatory education to all children between 5-16 years of age and also augment literacy rate of the country. The country of 180 million people, world 7th nuclear power "Pakistan" ranksat 160thcountrywith low literacy rate and that is 55 %which is not enough for the development of the country (Pakistan literacy rate, 2015). In 2015 according to a survey, Pakistan education system includes 260,903 institutions with 1,535,461 teachers and they are teaching 41,018,384 students. There are 180,846 public institutions and 80,057 private institutions in Pakistan. (Hussain, 2015).

Private institutions are part of Pakistan education system from the day of its independence. But in 1972 due to nationalization policy introduced by Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto, the progress of private sector stop for the few years. After the denationalization in late 1980's the private institution started growing rapidly. Firstly private schools and colleges were only meant for upper class but now they also attract the middle class of the society and have become the symbol of quality education. Teachers and education facilities of private institution are far better than public schools and colleges(I-SAPS 2010).The growing competition among private institutions leads them towards advertisement.

Education institution and advertising in term of their function are similar to each other as both the fields by the virtue of information try to modify individual belief and attitudes. Another similarity in the recent days between both the terms is their affiliation with the word "sell". As advertising try to sell the products while education institution try to sell education on the cost of money. Importance of advertising in the current era, its relation with education makes this topic interesting to research on. This paper talks about the strategy through which school and collages sell their education facilities to the students as well as their parents.

There are many studies conducted on the effectiveness of educational promotional ads on the popularity of the institution. As Khan and Qureshi (2010) highlighted that there is a strong relationship between promotion and enrollments. They analyzed institutes' point of view regarding the effects of promotional activities on students. To analyze this, the study used in-depth qualitative method in which sixteen schools headmasters belong to Islamabad and Rawalpindi were selected for interviews. The findings concluded that four variables played very important role in the enrollments of students in schools. These 4 elements were appearance of the school, its public relations, publicity and advertisements.

In another study marketing tactics and its relation with student's admission in private secondary schools of Nigeria was analyzed. By using survey method researcher distributed thirty two questionnaires to secondary school managers. The results of the study argued that there is a strong relationship between marketing schemes and increasing enrollments of students (Uchendu, Nwafor and Nwaneri,2015). Bamfo and Atara (2013) analyzed relationship between marketing communication and student's enrollment at university level of Ghana. Results revealed that the most important element that universities uses for increasing the number of students in their institutions are the mode of advertisements.

Similarly Messah and Immaculate (2011) also investigated the effects of marketing tools on the rate of enrollments at university level of Kenya. Four variables was selected on which students enrollments were depended these are; PR, direct marketing, advertising, and personal selling. 125 respondents from Twenty-five universities were selected. The results revealed that print media (pamphlets, brochures, leaflets and newspapers) was the main source of providing information to students about the institutions Gauatm (2011)also advocated that the promotional ads influence on students to get admissions in private institutions. Nels (2011) also highlighted the positive relationship between online advertising and private university admissions.

Other studies about the impact of advertising on students have also been a significant part of academic researches. Like Ashok, Apoorva and Suganthi (2015) found out the impact of advertisements on the students who belong from urban and rural areas. There are different types of mediated messages that can influence people to register in schools. The main objective of their study was to check which ones are persistent and which are temporary. Four types of advertisements were analyzed in this research TV, text messaging, internet and handbills. The result showed that students from the rural areas had persistent effects of TV and handbills ads while in urban areas TV, internet and websites hadunrelenting effects.

Reddy (2014) conducted a research on how international students influenced by social media with respect to selection of the courses and universities. The researcher selected survey methodology to obtain the data. The results indicated that international students was very active on social sites. They observe things online and are very much influenced by the social media. They select their courses and universities by utilizing social media.


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