What is the difference between camouflage and advertising?

3 Answers | Add Yours

bsauerbrey's profile pic

bsauerbrey | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Good question because the two are often together in the same presentation.

An example of advertising that is camouflage is a political piece that may seem a straightforward attempt to persuade voters that a given candidate is better qualified but which implies a paranoia, a racism, or a demagoguery that plays of the fear of the viewer. In the last presidential election, McCain's ads often portrayed Obama as a dangerous dupe for terrorists while the Obama ads made McCain look senile and incompetent for contemporary needs.  Palin's living between two countries, Canada and Russia, had no relevance to her foreign policy credential--such thinking would make a Lichtensteiner a diplomatic maven.

Ads for products from beer, to toothpaste,  to cars often imply a sex appeal that has nothing to do with the product. A poor schlep who can't form a relationship with a woman is not going to do so no matter how often he brushes his teeth or what brand of beer he drinks.  Insurance companies show warm fuzzy ads stuffed full of 'family values,' which has nothing to do with their function which is to underwrite financial and personal losses--the ads camouflage the often impersonal approach which these companies must take in calculating risks to their own financial stability.

So advertising is informing and persuading about a person or product; it often contains camouflage which hides the hidden agenda or which implies a reality that has nothing to do with the person or product.  Such camouflaging can amount to propaganda.

Another form of camouflage is to make advertising look like it is really a news story or a documentary presentation.  The second link below gives an idea of how this can work.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am not sure I understand your question, but camouflage and advertising are two completely different things.

Camouflage is a method of making it difficult to see something.  Soldiers wear camouflage uniforms so they will blend in with their surroundings and be hard to see.  Animals have colors and patterns on their skins, shells, etc, that do the same thing.

Advertising, on the other hand, is meant to be seen.  It is a way of trying to alert people to your presence.  It is usually used to make people want to buy a product that you are selling.  The word can also be used by biologists to refer to markings or behaviors of animals that are meant to attract attention (such as those that are meant to attract a mate).

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I believe your question in reference to camouflage and marketing in business.  The term camouflage as it is used in marketing means to find a trigger that will be identified by consumers that starts them drawing conclusions about the object or item based on the nature of the object relative to its appearance.  This technique is used to increase sales by increasing customers.  One example of the use of this ploy is by having a puppy rolling around a roll of toilet paper.  People are aware that a puppy has soft fresh fur.  Puppies are sweet.  The puppy in mention is also a gentle whitish tan which is a color that also represents softness verses dark brown, black, or cinnamon.  The people then relate the softness of the puppy to the softness of the toilet paper.

Advertising in marketing is a paid and impersonal message presented to the consumer with the intent to persuade.  It is usually paid for by a specific sponsor or company with the intent to promote a product.  It may also be used with previously existing customers in order to maintain their loyalty to a product or service.  An example of this is when person gets a traffic ticket and days later a letter comes in the mail from an attorney telling the person about the services that the firm is able to provide in order to have the ticket reduced or thrown out of the courts.


We’ve answered 317,367 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question