Difference Between Advertising and Propaganda (With Table)

Difference Between Advertising and Propaganda (With Table)

Human communication is interchangeably used to convey certain information to the listeners that affect their thinking process or view about certain items, people, things, or a group.

This strategy is used in marketing and politics, where the methods of Advertising and Propaganda are employed to win the target audience’s trust, and the use of language is done to convince the audience. It convinces them to believe certain perspectives and win their trust. Both tools are subjective and use multimedia or print media to convey the message to a large audience.

Advertising vs Propaganda

The main difference between advertisement and propaganda is that advertisement is a marketing tool that aims at convincing people to use certain products or services instead of the available alternatives. In contrast, propaganda is a tool that promotes one particular ideology over others, demeaning the other.

Advertising is a clever marketing strategy that intends to gain more customers for a certain product and service, focusing on attracting more and more attention, engagement, and sales. These advertisements work by associating certain images with the audiences’ minds, enabling them to buy or get more of the related product and service.

Propaganda on the other hand promotes a particular idea to gain relevance among the masses and to make that specific ideology a dominant one. This involves demeaning the opposite ideology and centralizing partial information to influence the audiences’ religious, political, and social beliefs. 

Comparison Table Between Advertising and Propaganda

Parameters of ComparisonAdvertisingPropaganda
DefinitionAdvertising is a strategy used in marketing services and products to gain customers. Propaganda is used by an organization to attract public consensus and to dominate the opposite group.
EtymologyIt is derived from French Advertir meaning to call attention to.It is derived from Latin propagare meaning to spread or to propagate. 
UsageIt is used to promote products and services.It is used to propagate subjective ideology.
NatureIt is persuasive.It is manipulative.
Field Related toIt is related to the field of marketing.It is related to the field of politics.
EffectIt affects the sales of goods and services.It affects the thinking process and manipulates the ideology of the target audience.

What is Advertising?

Advertisement in modern times is an inseparable part of the marketing strategy. Several firms make use of it to sell their products and services. Not only does it help in the sales of the goods but also in giving the brand identity in the market while influencing people to avail the goods. 

The chief ways to advertise a product are designing pamphlets and brochures, contacting influencers and celebrities to the campaign, sharing social media posts and television commercials, and attracting customers by asking them to avail themselves of the discounts they provide. They subtly tell the customers how they should buy the goods, reminding them of factors like convenience and feasibility of it.

Advertisements also change the consumer’s preferences of the product from another brand to their own by providing the pros and description of their product, dramatized. These are, in nature, persuasive, considering the strategy to gain as many customers as possible compared to the rival brand. 

What is Propaganda?

Propaganda, in turn, seems similar to advertising, targeting the social, political, and religious beliefs of the people while using the same to manipulate people into their agreement. In general terms, propaganda is a cognitive campaign that makes people think and act in a certain way while passing misleading or biased information.

Most of the propaganda is employed in the case of political or social groups where certain public emotions are aroused to manipulate them into believing or giving in to the organization’s objectives, promoting selective opinion. 

Propaganda aims to gain a mass social consensus that willingly approves or stands in defense of their action. The most accurate example of propaganda is the Nazi propaganda, which helped them consolidate power in their party’s hands and enabled them to carry out the massacre of the Jew community.

Main Differences Between Advertising and Propaganda

  1. A company uses advertising to gain customers who would avail their goods and services. In contrast, propaganda is used by any group or organization to dominate the opposite group.
  2. Advertising is derived from French Advertir meaning ‘to call attention to,’ while Propaganda is derived from Latin  propagare meaning ‘to spread’ or ‘to propagate.’
  3. Advertising is used to promote products and services, whereas propaganda is used to propagate subjective ideology.
  4. Advertising is persuasive in nature; however, Propaganda is manipulative.
  5. Advertising is done in the field of marketing, on the contrary, Propaganda is used by social and political organizations.
  6.  Advertising affects the sale of goods, on the other hand, Propaganda affects the thinking process and manipulates the ideology of the target audience.


Both Advertising and Propaganda affect the target audience in one way or the other. When Advertising affects the customer’s choice to buy a product, Propaganda affects people’s thinking and viewpoint. Propaganda becomes the root of the problem of society when a large number of people blindly follow the yardstick of the organization leading them; therefore, it is hazardous, but advertising simply being a marketing strategy does not cause a social disorder. 


  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/theory-of-political-propaganda/9AFAA9A4B7BD71EA20B3521A99D7EF3F
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825616301476
  3. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/260231
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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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