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There are different types of advertising that are used by businesses. The marketers have set goals which they hope to achieve through the ads they make. Newspaper advertising is one of the widely used forms of media advertising. This paper looks at New Paper advertising in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and how it has changed over the years. The paper will also look at the positive and negative effects of advertising in newspapers to readers and advertisers. The analysis of this issue will be largely based on the situation in the UAE.


The media is a wide concept as it involves many activities. In addition, we have different types of media that have evolved over time. One of the earliest and widely used types of media is the print media. This was begun through innovation of printing. In print media, there are different types of publications and the major one is the newspapers. In many countries, newspapers are published on a daily basis. For publishers to meet the production costs, they have to involve external finance. This is usually done through advertising. The public usually pays very little for newspapers; thus most production costs are usually obtained from companies, organizations, groups, and individuals who want to make a newspaper ad In definition, advertising is an organizational function that entails a set of business activities aimed at publicizing goods, information and services (Clow and Donald, 2007). When it comes to newspaper advertising, the ads are usually made to convey different types of information. Some newspapers usually advertise job opportunities and job vacancies among many other things. With the world becoming a small village, because of an increased technological development, newspaper advertising has developed over the years (Al-Kassim, 1999). This is more evident from the content of newspapers. Newspapers have moved from covering local and national issues to covering international issues. In areas like UAE where commerce has highly developed, more newspaper advertising is likely to occur. This is because all the businesses find and use all means possible to make their products and services known to the public. Despite the wide use of newspapers in advertising, this has been seen to have both positive and negative impacts. This paper shall be aimed at discussing the positive and negative effects of newspaper advertising. This will be done by taking an inner look at the use of newspapers in UAE.

Types of Newspaper Advertising

Newspaper advertising is somehow different from advertising in different media. For instance, ads on television are different since they will communicate much information while a newspaper ad will be brief and to the point. Because of these comparisons, newspaper advertising has been grouped into two types including the display and classified advertising (MediaMe, 2011). Academicians have come up with other types, but the above-mentioned types are the main ones.

A display advertisement is usually a written message, which, in most cases, is accompanied by an illustration or photograph. This ad can be placed anywhere in a newspaper. Display ads can be either local or national. National advertising involves promoting services and products on a nation-wide basis. This is more evident for products such as automobiles and brand-name products. On the other hand, local advertising is meant to promote local, regional and national products. This type of ads only appears in the local market (Pintak, 2008). When placing a display ad in a newspaper, the charges are made depending on the space occupied in the newspaper. The price of the space covered usually varies because of such factors as the size of an ad, use of color, guaranteed position in the newspaper, newspaper circulation, advertising frequency and the day the advertisement is published.

Display ads are particularly professionally prepared with an aim of getting the readers` attention. The physical look of the ad usually communicates much to the reader. The information included is very important; in most cases, it describes product quality, price or value of the product, and moreover, it provides product guarantee information and its general description (Martinson, 2010).

Classified ads are usually written by individuals advertising their products or services rather than by the creative service departments. Most of the classified ads are usually brief as advertisers are charged by the line. The price varies considering the number of days the ad will appear and the number of insertions. The day may also be of consideration in pricing for instance if the ad is to appear on Saturday when the circulation is high then the price will be higher. Making a classified ad is very easy because it may be done through a telephone or online where the advertiser communicates information to an operator. Most of the classified ads are put together almost at the back of a newspaper (Martin, 2003; Clow and Donald, 2007). Readers who are usually interested in ads usually have some goals in mind. It becomes easy to locate an ad as they are put in specific categories under which they are listed alphabetically.

Media Analysis of UAE

Economic prosperity is a factor that has turned the UAE to be a center of many nations` interest. Because of the economic supremacy in the region, more so in Dubai on which all big nations are focusing their eyes, media in the area is also showing rapid changes (Al-Kassim, 1999). The area is getting very tied to the global economy. This has been seen to attract more foreign media companies into the country.

Although newspaper consumption habits have changed across the globe with low circulations experienced, the economic condition has helped in ensuring that circulation remains high. Competition in the area is very high as foreign direct investment is encouraged, especially in China. Because of high competition, businesses find and use all means possible to publicize their products and services. This becomes an advantage for publishers as they get more revenues than before. Because of improvements in technology, newspaper vendors can sell them online (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). Readers are also in a position to access a newspaper online rather than buying it. This factor has caused newspaper circulation drops on a daily basis.

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Currently, there are very competitive daily newspaper publishers in the region. Each of them is doing its best to differentiate itself and attract advertisers. Although “The National” is currently termed as the best paper in the region, we have seen others have better daily circulation. This is an advantage for the advertisers as their bargaining power becomes significantly high. Revenue collections from advertising, which are the main sources for publishers, are, therefore, unpredictable in the region (Martin, 2003). Some of the newspaper publishers have called upon the government to regulate the revenues they get from advertisers. This is crucial to enhance sustainability.

History of Newspaper Advertising in UAE

Newspaper advertising in the United Arab Emirates came about in the same period journalism was built around the world as a hobby or vocation rather than a business. Therefore, the first Emirati newspaper was neither professional nor money-making. Musabbah Bin Obeid Al Dhahiri was the first shopkeeper in Al Ain to produce a newspaper in the 1920s. The shopkeeper wrote al-Nakhy, named after a food item, and later in that day reproduced it on cardboards. Printing was not yet available in the region in those days. What the guy did was he could stick the cardboards outside his shop every morning. Through this, people could read the previous day’s news. This was a journalistic hobby that the shopkeeper was practicing as he later reported in a radio interview (Al-Kassim, 1999). He advanced and got into the community where he got news about people, families and their relatives. Through this, he began including news about robberies, marriages, births, and major social occasions. The main news included was the ruler of that time known as Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In the early 1960s, illiteracy was still high in the UAE; thus there were no newspapers produced locally. In addition, there was no market to sell newspapers. The first printed English Bulletin was published by Kawas Motivala, an Indian expatriate, in 1967 before the UAE gained independence (Al-Kassim, 1999). It was named The Recorder, and it was published three to four times a week. The bulletin included advertising and merchant news. There was a need of social development as the leaders foresaw it as a way of making the region prominent in commerce (MediaMe, 2011). Additionally, the founders of the UAE began using the press in promoting nationalistic feelings and enhancing social development since there were many tribes.

The longest running English newspaper in the region, Khaleej Times, was established in 1978. Since then, the management of the newspaper had remained under the Galadari Printing and Publishing Company as the main shareholder until summer 2008 when the government of Dubai raised its ownership (Pintak, 2008). The government took over the general management and appointed a new editor-in-chief.

Later in 1979, Gulf News was established as a privately-owned newspaper by three Emirati families. Currently, the newspaper company has grown as it employs over 280 people of nearly 30 nationalities. The company, known as Al Nisr, also publishes magazines sold locally.

In 1996, Gulf Today, the third daily English paper, was established in the UAE. It is found in Dar Al Khaleej, a city next to Dubai (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). The company also publishes five Arabic newspapers and magazines.

Later in 2004, the Emirates Today came into the market. It was published by the Arab Media Group (AMG). This is a powerful media company as it owns other media such as television.

The latest and arguably the best newspaper is The National which was debuted in April 2008. The newspaper was financed by the government of Abu Dhabi. It employs approximately 300 full-time employees with many others being hired from western countries.

The highly circulating newspaper as in line to a research carried out in 2011 is the Gulf News with approximately 110,000 circulations; it is followed by Khaleej Times with approximately 70,000 circulations while The National comes third with a range of 60,000-90,000 circulations on a daily basis (Martinson, 2010). The latter statistics may not be so credible since, in the past, we have seen different companies accusing each other of lying about their circulations. English papers in the region are the highest selling ones.

Why Advertise in Newspapers?

Newspaper advertising is meant to serve specific purposes considering that it is significantly unique. One of its main purposes is brand communication. Products and services in businesses are usually differentiated through brands. When new brands are brought into the market, they are usually advertised in different media including newspapers. This makes customers build emotional relationships with certain brands, which they become familiar with as the years pass (Clow and Donald, 2007). For instance, it becomes easy for customers who are interested in Smart phones to be updated with the latest models through newspaper advertisements.

Newspaper advertising is also meant to supply consumers with necessary information about what is available in the market and how to get it. Specific features of the products are portrayed. This helps consumers in making decisions on what to buy without having to leave the house. This becomes easy for them to explore their tastes and preferences.

Newspaper advertising is also meant to persuade consumers to purchase goods. This is usually achieved through emotional fulfillment. Considering that persuasion is the main reason for advertising, the message that is communicated usually tells the consumers how the products and services will improve their lives. Businesses expect that when their ads reach as many people as possible, the demand for their products or services will significantly increase (Martin, 2003). If the demand for significant advertising does not change, then the advertisers will have to consider other ways of communicating with customers since this will show that they were not persuaded.

Newspaper advertising is associated with credibility. Research has shown that consumers find what is advertised in newspapers more credible than what they find in other advertising media. They also consider the ads as official unlike the ads on television that are meant for enjoyment (Martinson, 2010). Therefore, many businesses and marketers will prefer newspaper advertising to other advertising media because of the credibility associated with it.

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Newspapers also tend to call and involve more engagement than other advertising media. Research has shown clearly that nearly 90 percent of people who purchase newspapers on weekdays spend approximately 45 minutes reading while those who purchase them on the weekend spend approximately one hour reading (Clow and Donald, 2007). This shows that customers are more engaged and will grasp all what is visual in a newspaper, unlike on TV where they will not show much concentration. Some people will have TV in the background or as a way of getting wallpapers. This shows that they are less engaged in other media; thus it is through newspaper advertising that marketers will be assured that the information will reach the target market.

Some marketers also prefer newspaper advertising in because customers can always refer to it again. Most people who buy newspapers on the daily basis =usually have a pile of them at home or in the office. Therefore, in case they want to confirm an ad they saw in a newspaper, it is easy to do, unlike an ad that they saw on TV and which was never repeated (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). They can also use ads in newspapers to link friends, which may be not the case in other media in which they do not have much trust.

Compared to other forms of media used in advertising, newspapers are quite simple and cheap. Since ads can be made with the help of operators, it becomes easy for a business to make an ad whereby the business representatives have only to contact an operator, either through telephone or online. It may take only a matter of seconds then an ad appears in a newspaper. Since competition between the newspapers is high, all have tried to make quick and close connections with their customers. In addition, the costs incurred in the whole process may be low compared to a situation where an advertisement is made on TV (Pintak, 2008). This is why some businesses, especially those that advertise regularly, prefer newspaper advertising.

Positive Effects of Advertising in Newspapers

Effects to Readers

Newspaper advertising is seen to have more positive outcomes to readers than other types of media. One of the main positive outcomes is that newspaper advertising builds readers` trust and confidence. The ads are usually made in a way that they capture readers` interest (Martinson, 2010). Since content found in newspapers is said to be credible, readers build trust and confidence in different products and services advertised there. Readers are also in a position to get additional information about a product or service. Without ads, a reader may never find out about a specific product or service. In addition, there are some readers who are curious about a certain product or service which is new in the market (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). Therefore, through ads curiosity of some readers is answered.

Newspaper advertising also changes the consumer behavior of buyers who are mainly readers. Economists believe that a successful entrepreneur has to be aware of his or her consumer’s behavior. In most cases, consumer behavior is seen to change in a short time due to the roller coaster economy. For businesses that want to enhance sustainability and growth, they use newspaper advertising as a way of changing consumer behavior positively. For trend or brand products, consumer behavior is expected to switch automatically when they advertise their new products or services (Martinson, 2010). One of the main reasons why consumer behavior changes because of newspaper advertising is because the customers enhance mouth to mouth marketing, which is believed to be very powerful in commerce. In the UAE, for instance, technology is changing at the speed of light and it is incorporated at all levels of production, and consumer behavior switches automatically to consume the latest and technologically improved products (Martin, 2003; Pintak, 2008). This is usually an opportunity for business owners; however, in some way it may have negative impacts as the demand for the old stock may decrease rapidly.

Through newspaper advertising, readers get a source of future reference. Most people read newspapers to relax, and as they do that they look through many ads in the newspapers. As some of them may not have the ability to buy a product at that particular time, they will keep the newspaper for future reference when they will want to buy that product.

Effects to Marketers/Advertisers

Through newspaper advertising, marketers gain confidence that consumer behavior will change in their favor. Experts believe that the greater the exposure to advertising, the greater impact it will have on a reader. As a result, advertisers who have made their ads appear for longer in newspapers will tend to show more confidence (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). They become confident because they believe that ads in newspapers communicate more emotional information, thus enhancing brand awareness. Advertisers also believe that since there are no distractions on what readers see and read in newspapers, as compared to other types of media like TV, there is a high possibility of communicating their message loud and clear.

Advertising also helps businesses to establish strong relationships with readers. This is due to the fact that consumers tend to believe much in what they see in newspapers than in any other form of media. Readers are provided with the information regarding where to get more information about a product or service (Al-Kassim, 1999). This keeps them focused on the business as they will use their additional time gaining more information about the product or service.


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Newspaper advertising is also seen to play a key role in image building. This is a strategy that businesses use to keep their business name and products known. In the UAE, this is mostly used by mobile service providers when communicating with consumers and when reminding them about the products they offer (Peitz and Valletti, 2004). The public attitude at large is usually influenced in favor of the company. This is the reason why we have some companies in the UAE that are widely known.

Many positive impacts of newspaper advertising aim at increasing demand for products. The demand is usually expected to increase significantly when consumers are persuaded. Since ads in newspapers tend to be more persuasive to readers, then there is a likelihood that the demand for a business’s products or services will increase. This is the main goal of a business in advertising itself; thus, when it is achieved, it is a positive effect of newspaper advertising.

Negative Effects of Advertising in Newspapers

Effects to Readers

Newspaper advertising makes readers have a negative perception of their fellow human beings. Considering the situation in the UAE where ads in newspapers take almost half of newspaper, each advertiser aims at making the most eye-catching advertisement (Clow and Donald, 2007). Most of them use celebrities, and mostly female celebrities, in creating advertisements. People will be attracted to an ad because of a female celebrity who is used in the ad rather than because of the specific product or service been advertised. This, therefore, influences the way people think negatively as female figures are usually converted to things. One will make a purchase of a product because it was advertised by a beautiful female and not because the product quality was top-notch. This negatively affects morality in the society.

Newspaper advertising also results in addiction. Considering the economic developments of the UAE, many newspapers are full of ads presenting different businesses. There are some individuals who find themselves purchasing newspapers on a daily basis so that they can look through ads (Martinson, 2010). Some have even gone miles ahead to cut specific ads and keep them. This is an addiction, which has some negative psychological impacts associated with it.

Ads in newspapers are never sensitive to different types of people we have in the society. Marketers aim at making their services, ideas, and products are known to the public without looking at the negative side of some ads. For instance, if we consider an ad where a restaurant is advertising reopening and only couples are expected at the party, individuals who are divorced or single will take this negatively. Ads, therefore, have some sort of discrimination which affects some people (Clow and Donald, 2007). Some people may even become stressed because of newspapers ads that discriminate them.

Ads in newspapers also send the wrong message to some groups in society, especially to children since they are curious to practice what they see. An example is when a brewery is advertising its new alcoholic drinks and how enjoyable they are. Other negative ads are those that involve smoking products. This will send the wrong message to children who were not exposed to such products. Some may start perceiving them as the right things to consume. This is also seen in ads that contain some sexual arousal pictures or messages as they will be perceived with feelings. In Islamic culture, it is wrong for women to expose their bodies in public. Therefore, ads with almost naked women will send the wrong information to Muslims in the UAE, who are a majority of the population (Martinson, 2010). This will eventually lead to an immoral society.

Effects to Advertisers

Although adverts in newspapers are meant to keep marketers happy, there are some weaknesses of the same. One of the impacts is that it enhances competitiveness as they publicize their innovations and new technologies (Pejman, 2009). This becomes an opportunity for competitors to understand and analyze what they have been doing; thus they can develop better winning strategies.

Advertisers are also afraid of consumers or competitors` disapproval after advertising in newspapers. It relates mostly to goods that are consumed on a daily basis. Since people have different tastes and preferences, there are some who are bored or even annoyed after consuming a specific product or service. Therefore, when they see such ads, for instance, online, they will make negative comments about those products (Peitz and Valletti, 2004). In addition, competitors may take this as an opportunity to disprove one another as it is already seen in the companies that publish daily newspapers in the UAE. This may have a negative effect on the company’s image. Therefore, with placing ads in newspapers, there is no guarantee that the outcomes will be positive.

At times, newspaper advertising may lead to the loss in an organization. Since many marketers aim at ensuring that they get as many readers as possible, they may spend much in making ads. At times, a company suffers a loss when the customers` response is not positive, or it is not immediate. Because of the rapid technological changes, it is expected that the customers` response after seeing an ad is immediately before more technologically advanced products are brought into the market (Pejman, 2009). Therefore, if the response is not positive or immediate, there is a great risk of a business failure to meet the costs spent on newspaper advertising. Generally, newspaper advertising is usually a risk. There is no guarantee that the viewers` response will be positive and immediate because of the rollercoaster economy and the highly competitive global market (Pejman, 2009).

Gender Effects

Research has shown that ads in newspapers have gender effects. Some of these may be positive while others are negative. One of the commonly considered gender effects is that men will feel happy when they see ads that are attractive, while women become more stressful when they see such ads. Some may even end up developing negative attitudes towards a product or service or spreading the wrong information about it.

In most cases, we have seen women been used widely in ads. This makes men perceive themselves as poor advertisers; thus many may develop negative attitudes towards the same. In other cases, we have seen photographs being modified so they are beyond the normal look of human beings we know (Crampes, Haritchabalet and Jullien, 2005). For instance, we see strong and muscular men being used in ads, yet that is not their original look. Technology is used to make the ads look unique to get the readers` attention. However, this may make men and women feel inferior and make them lack curiosity. For instance, some women may feel that they are not beautiful enough when they see gorgeous women in ads, whose bodies were modified. These make individuals develop the low ego, which may, in the long end, make them live unhappy life (Al-Kassim, 1999). Some men may also feel that they are inferior to approach women as they do not have attractive masculine features they see in advertisements.


In summary, newspaper advertising is widely used in the UAE. This has been seen to have both positive and negative impacts on both advertisers and readers. When it comes to positive impacts, it is evident that readers gain confidence and trust. They are also provided with information about different products and services. This becomes crucial in decision making so that they purchase products they are comfortable with. They also learn about new products and their curiosity is satisfied. The positive impacts on readers are usually advertisers` strongholds as they will expect that demand for their products will increase. Advertisers will also establish positive relationships with their customers. However, the process is usually risky since there is no guarantee that the outcomes will be positive. At times, customers may disprove what they see, since, in most cases, it is usually objective. Readers are also addicted at times. Moreover, some ads negatively influence people`s morality as they bring wrong information with them, especially to children. Competitors may also take advantage of ads to disprove their competitors. The area of gender effects is crucial in the study; thus it should be highly considered in future researches, since there is little information about it.