GMAT Essay Topic 467 - The following is from a campaign by Big Boards, Inc., to convince companies in River City that their sales will increase if they use Big Boards billboards for advertising their locally manufactured products. "The potential of Big Boards to increase sales of your products can be seen from an experiment we conducted last year. We increased public awareness of the name of the current national women's marathon champion by publishing her picture and her name on billboards in River City for a period of three months. Before this time, although the champion had just won her title and was receiving extensive national publicity, only five percent of 15,000 randomly surveyed residents of River City could correctly name the champion when shown her picture; after the three-month advertising experiment, 35 percent of respondents from a second survey could supply her name." Discuss how well reasoned . . . Etc.
Big Boards Impact
Big Boards company claims that advertising in big boards will increase the sales of companies. This argument is flawed because it relies on unfounded evidence to reach a conclusion that is not supported by the evidence.
In drawing this conclusion, the author not only fails to take into account that the comparison between awareness of a celebrity and selling a product is not feasible, but also he assumes that an increase of 10% of results of a survey is significant for selling a product. Furthermore, the way the survey is conduced is not strong enough to make conclusions.
First, in the argument, the author uses the example of spreading awareness of a celebrity using big boards to prove that big boards are a strong way of advertising products. Clearly, acknowledging the name of a celebrity is not the same as going to buy a product in the stores. By taking the same approach as the author, the real conclusion should be that people will become aware of the name of the product, which is no evidence of any increase in its sales. Since the author doesn’t provide further evidence that people will actually take action towards the product, it’s impossible to determine that the sales will increase.
Second, The author uses the increase in percent as an indication of increase in sales. Although an increase in percentage is not a negative factor, it still doesn’t prove that the same percentage will increase in sales. In addition, if the sales increase by 10%, that doesn’t mean that it’s significant to that product’s company. This argument could be strengthened if the author shows real evidence about an increase of sales of a certain product after being advertised through the big boards, and as a result showing the cost effectiveness of investing in advertising in big boards.
Third, the author bases his conclusions on the survey conducted. It could be argued that this survey is biased. In no relation to big boards, if you ask the same person twice the same question, most probably the second time he’ll get it right. So, getting more right answers when asking the same person twice about the celebrity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with advertising using big boards. This argument could be strengthened if the survey is done on another representing sample as well as the same people surveyed the first time and observing the difference due to other factors than advertising.
In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the reasons indicated above.
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