Where there is major concern is with the asset and decency aspect of advertising. Companies must make a greater effort in improving their advertisements to be more tasteful, decent and socially responsible. Ethical Advertising “My definition of advertising ethics includes three components: (1) truth, (2) fairness, and (3) taste and decency’ (Snyder, Wallace S). These three components, if followed, would make advertising in an ethical manner easier for companies that are big on advertising.
When it comes to being honest, advertising companies know that they must be truthful or they could be sued for false advertising. This part of ethical advertisement is usually covered wrought regulations by the federal government. The two other components, however, are where advertising companies are lacking. “Fairness includes both the nature of the audience and the nature of the seen,’ice or product” (Snyder, Wallace S). When advertising on television advertising companies must consider who would be watching certain shows at certain times and advertise accordingly.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Areas for Improvement Though fairness still needs some considerations, the area that seems to need much improvement is that of taste and decency, “while clear cut standards are not possible, advertisers must demonstrate greater self-restraint and how respect for everyone who will view their advertisements” (Snyder, Wallace S). In today’s society, there should be more considerations when it comes to public advertising whether it is television, billboard or magazine advertisements.
Advertising companies must look at the public as a whole and realize that certain advertisements are appropriate at certain times and in certain areas and other advertisements are completely inappropriate. Taste and decency when deciding on their advertising idea. Companies that advertise must be honest. It is very rare to see a company or business that is dishonest within advertising. There are many regulations about how to advertise and how advertising should be truthful. The Federal Trade Commission even has a statement on deception in advertising.
Within this statement “Section 12 specifically prohibits false ads likely to induce the purchase of food, drugs, devices or cosmetics and Section 1 5 defines a false ad for purposes of Section 12 as one which is “misleading in a material respect& (Miller Ill, James C). This means a company can not advertise a food product to be fat free when indeed the product contains fat. Another example is that drugs cannot be advertised as pain relievers if they in fact do to relieve pain.
The Federal Trade Commission also defines that “practices that have been found misleading or deceptive in specific cases include false oral or written representations, misleading price claims, sales of hazardous or systematically defective products or services without adequate disclosures, failure to disclose information regarding pyramid sales, use of bait and switch techniques, failure to perform promised services, and failure to meet warranty obligations” (Miller Ill, James C). This proclaims that anything that is being advertised for sale cannot be deceptive in any way.
Due to these isolations and many others, advertising companies have a hard time with getting away with anything but the truth. For that reason they stick to it rather than be sued later for going against it, which would cost them more money in the end. Advertisers fail, however, when it comes to whom to advertise to and how they are advertising their product. TO whom and how companies advertise should all be considered under the Federal Trade Commission Policy Statement of Unfairness.
The Commission identifies three factors that are considered when applying the prohibition against consumer unfairness. These are: “(1) whether the practice injures nonusers; (2) whether it violates established public policy; (3) whether it is unethical or unscrupulous” (Uppercuts, Michael, Paul R. Dixon, David A. Clayton, Robert Pittston, and Patricia P. Bailey. ). Consumer injury cannot be just any little thing that a consumer themselves consider an injury. Consumer injury is justified under the satisfaction of three tests. (1) It must be substantial; (2) it must not be outweighed by any countervailing benefits to consumers or competition that the practice produces; and (3) it must be an injury that consumers themselves could not reasonably have avoided” Uppercuts, Michael, Paul R. Dixon, David A. Clayton, Robert Pittston, and Patricia p. Bailey. ). This is imposed so that people do not claim any little thing as an injury. The second part of the Statement of unfairness asks whether the conduct violates public policy as it has been established by statute, common law, industry practice, or otherwise. This criterion may be applied in two different ways. (1) It may be used to test the validity and strength of the evidence of consumer injury, or, less often, (2) it may be cited for a disposition legislative or judicial determination that such injury is present” Patricia p. Bailey. ). The third and final part of the Statement of Unfairness “asks whether the conduct was immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous” (Uppercuts, Michael, Paul R. Dixon, David A. Clayton, Robert Pittston, and Patricia P.
Bailey. ). This is the hardest part of the Statement to be proved. However, when advertising is unethical there is usually some sort of consumer injury. Advertising to Children Another issue with the whole aspect of fair advertising is advertising to children. Is it fair to target children during after school programming? With children watching approximately 1 500 hours of T. V a year, it is of concern to what is being advertised during children’s programs (Herr, Ph. D. , Norma).
One big area of advertising that was affected by the issue of advertising to children was the food industry. Child obesity is a huge epidemic in the United States and of huge concern. McDonald’s has been ridiculed over and over on its unethical form of advertising to children. They have their mascot Ronald McDonald the clown, they have happy meals with toys in them and they advertise during children programming. After all the ridicule, McDonald’s decided not to rely on Ronald the clown as much anymore in its advertisements.
McDonald’s still has toys in their happy meals, but they also have more nutritional options such as, apple dippers and milk instead of fries and soda pop. McDonald’s also advertises more of the nutritional options during children programming. Of course the McDonald’s Corporation did not make all these changes on their own. McDonald’s had to be sued constantly and put to trial for its unethical practices until a change was made. Other companies like “Coca-Cola, Mars, Hershey and Catbird Adams USA -?? said they would not advertise at all to children” (Clifford, Stephanie).
All these impasses are making major improvements in the way they advertise to children, but there are still other companies that continue to target children. The toy industry is one of those. Toy advertisements make toys look better than they are. Children do not know to listen to or read the disclaimers within commercials; they just see a toy they like then beg their mom or dad or both to buy them that toy. For example, Barbie commercials should not include the house and car along with the Barbie if it is not included all in one package.
There is not much noise about toy advertisement because there is to actual injury to consumer; however it is still unethical to confuse the child and could be considered unfair as well. Ethical Advertising: Taste and Decency While being honest and fair within advertising is of concern, the biggest concern with ethical advertising today is how some companies do not consider taste and decency when advertising their products. Now a days there is sexual and violent advertising every where people look.
According to Dora and Job Dubitable, “Today more than ever before, companies use nudity and alcohol appeals in advertisements for their products (such as half-naked nouns and beautiful women). “Strasbourg and Demonstrates (1999) charge advertising with a number of ethical breaches, most of which focus on its apparent lack of social responsibility’ (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). Advertisers need to be aware that whatever it is that they are advertising in whatever way they are advertising it will be seen by millions of people nationwide.
One advertisement featuring a woman dressed in a racy nun costume and a priest about to share a kiss was banned due to the numerous complaints of its sexuality and its offensiveness. “The saucy press ad, with he strapping “Kiss temptation”, was run by ice-cream brand Antonio Federate Goleta Italians” (Sweeney, Mark). How this company decided this type of advertisement would be okay and accepted is very confusing. There are many advertisements like this that do not seem to take into consideration that will be seeing their advertisement.
Calvin Klein had a jean ad advertising a young half naked woman on a couch with three men in an orgy like situation on a billboard in New York. The ad got so many complaints that Calvin Klein removed the advertisement. However, days later an ad of a Oman coming out of some body of water in a bathing suit that could be compared to dental floss replaced the old raunchy advertisement. Not much of an improvement. A huge slogan supporting this type of advertising is “sex sells”. Though this may be a shameful way of advertising it is very true that it works.
The reason these types of advertisements are being made and accepted is due to the ethical dilemma in advertising. There are many reasons as to why an ethical dilemma in advertising occurs. The main reason being that “the issue of ethics derives from the relationship of marketing professionals with there parties in the exchange process, including organizational members, customers, competitors and members of the public; particularly the youth” (Dubitable,Job, and Dora Dubitable). Advertisers must consider all these people when advertising. Advertising and marketing professionals have certain duties and responsibilities towards each of these parties, yet the fulfillment of these tend to conflict with the interest of the advertisers, thereby creating an ethical problem” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). Advertisers want to give the illusion that their product is the best product out here. That it will make you beautiful, attractive, skinny, rich and other unrealistic things. When people are tricked by these advertisements they are being advertised to unethically.
Violent Advertisement When it comes to violence it is every”here one turns. It is in “television and film, video games, music, the internet and advertising” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). Within television alone it was found that out “of over 8,000 hours of broadcast and cable television”, “over of the programming aired in the united States contained violence” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). This study was conducted by the National Television Violence.
The concern with violence being everywhere is obviously growing within in the public, especially when it comes to the content of the violence. The content could include an “excessive quantity, graphic detail, interactive nature (in video and computer games), and gratuitous fictional and non-fictional violence” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). The reason there is so much concern about all this violence is due to the effect it has on people, particularly h lilied. The fact that violent media had an effect on people has been proven time and time again. Positive associations between media violence and aggressive thoughts, hostile emotions, and aggressive or violent behavior have been found repeatedly, both in children and adults, in studies using a variety of methods, including laboratory and field experiments, cross- sectional studies, and longitudinal research” cones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). There has been “over 1,000 studies, both qualitative and quantitative, that show a consistent link between violent arrogating and increased aggression, especially among children” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H.
Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). With results like this, it is no wonder many people and parents are concerned with violent advertisement. Violent advertising is difficult to assess. The reason for this is that with so many different people there are many different opinions as to what inappropriate violence is and what appropriate violence is. ‘There are a variety of forms of violence, context in which violence occurs, and varying levels of intensity of violence”, that is why one person may consider omitting violent, while another might consider it normal.
There are, however, some forms of ethical violent advertisement. These different forms of ethical violent advertising appeals are “fear appeals (e. G. , for self-defense products), Informational appeals (e. G. , for products that have violent components, such as certain video games), and shock appeals” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). Fear appeals are used to motivate people. They are used to “frighten target audience members in order to motivate them to take appropriate precautionary, self-protective action” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher).
However, the issue with fear appeals is that “fear is a complex emotion that is not fully understood in the context Of advertising” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). Informational appeals are used to obviously inform people about the product. When violence is used in these advertisements the advertiser assumes “that the target audience members are open to the information provided in the advertisement and that they will then use the information to make a decision about the subject of advertising” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher).
Advertising in this fashion is ethical because no harm is intended on the advertiser’s side. Shock appeals are used to “deliberately startle and upset the audience” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). There are several reasons as to why advertisers like using violence shock appeals. These include “To capture audience attention, to attract media interest that will result in free publicity, to raise awareness, to affect attitudes, to enhance recall, to influence behaviors and ultimately, to increase sales and profits or to achieve other mission-related goals” (Jones, Tim, Peggy H.
Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). The fact that these shock appeals are deliberate may seem to make them unethical, but they have a silver lining, which is to get a message across that will in the end, hopefully, make a change for the better. These types violent advertising are not what have people talking. It is the unnecessary advertisement of things such as people killing people and enjoying it. Just having one person hurt another and being happy about it scares people. When advertisers use violence in a joking or self-satisfying way that is when there is concern for violent advertising.
However, ‘The prevalence of violence in advertising varies widely”, due to the different opinions of violence. Most “advertisers seem to use violence for a variety of reasons to capture attention, raise awareness, provide information, affect attitudes, enhance recall and influence behavior (Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher). That is why when it comes to violent advertising it is difficult to draw a line between ethical and unethical. Alcohol and Tobacco Advertising When it comes to alcoholic advertising, most people would say it is unethical because alcohol is bad for rows health.
However, “not one of them shows somebody actually drinking the beef’ (Moore, Chris). Tobacco products do show someone enjoying a cigarette, but again nothing too unethical there either. The problem is that these companies advertise “alcoholic and nicotine products – legal but lethal products that continue to be advertised against a background of cancer-related illnesses, alcohol abuse and related social challenges” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). Everyone knows the harm that both alcohol and tobacco products do to one’s health and life.
Most people, however, do not know how harmful these products are and how just en puff of a cigarette releases thousands of chemicals into your body. Because the full truth is not know about tobacco and alcohol products, “advertising professional should be focusing more on portraying their negative consequences to the youth in an attempt to discourage the habits” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). However, tobacco and alcohol companies focus more on making their brand better and more appealing than another brand. There are many various ways to advertise alcohol and tobacco products.
There is television (for alcohol only, tobacco advertising on television is banned), billboards, magazines, posters e. . C. Tobacco and alcohol are advertised in every way possible and they are advertised heavily. “For example, young people in the United States of American view approximately 2,000 beer and wine commercial per year” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). These advertisements include things like the most interesting man in the world who drinks Dos Squish, feeling like you are on a beach in your bathing suit enjoying the rays while drinking a Corona, partying all night while drinking vodka and the list goes on and on.
This is the way companies advertise their alcohol, “what advertisers are reluctant to promote is the rodents’ negative health and safety effects, which should be a greater public concern. Now there are messages within these commercials that these companies believe makes their advertisement more ethical. The message usually IS “drink responsibly’, nonetheless, that is a message that could be interpreted in many different ways, and some people do not even understand what drinking responsibly could possibly mean. The only thing alcohol and tobacco companies want is more customers.
Not that they are necessarily trying to get new people to buy their products, but “advertisers are trying to et smokers and alcohol consumers to switch to their brands, rather than convince non-users or children from taking up such habits” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable). This may give alcohol and tobacco advertisers more peace of mind, on the other hand, these advertisements still bring in new people to take up the habit. “Civic groups say that children are bombarded by ethically controversial advertisements and are tempted to try these products or the features actions” (Dubitable, Job, and Dora Dubitable).
One company that has been questioned about its ethics when it comes to Argentina children is Camel, the cigarette brand. The Camel brand’s website has a description of itself that says “An authentic original, Camel is a brand with a rich heritage and one that also keeps up with the times. Camelњs combination of a classic nature and contemporary flair reinforce the brands position as a flavor cigarette with a rich heritage, a colorful personality and irreverent sense of humor (Carlson, Michael, and Chris Lures). This was a quote from R. J.
Reynolds, who is a tobacco giant. This description of “brand personality is consistent with a strategy of attracting youth to cigarettes by signposting them as an initiation into adulthood” (Carlson, Michael, and Chris Lures). Tobacco companies know that the way to get the youth to want their product “is to show cigarettes as among the illicit pleasures Of drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and having sex” (Carlson, Michael, and Chris Lures). The Camel brand R. J. Reynolds described is seemingly similar to what attracts the youth to cigarettes.
Also they are the “same traits that would best describe Joe Camel’s suave appearance” (Carlson, Michael, and Chris Lures). There is even more proof that Camel actually targets the youth, though they lain they do not. The proof can be found in strategy of targeting teenagers”, which “has been documented in tobacco industry internal letters”. The letter reads: ‘To Ensure Increased and Longer-term Growth for the Camel Filter, the Brand Must Increase Its Share Penetration Among the 14-24 Age Group Which Have a New Set of More Liberal Values and Which Represent Tomorrow’s Cigarette Business” (Carlson, Michael, and Chris Lures).
Targeting these advertisements to children and young adults “places a burden on them because if they are influenced by the advertising, they will likely be drawn award a highly addictive and deadly product” (Carlson, Michael, and Chris rush). To conclude, ethics is a difficult subject to asses. There are many different opinions when it comes to ethics and everyone has their own ethical beliefs. Just like people have ethical beliefs so do companies, of American companies have a written Code of Ethics” (Moore, Chris). Ethics happen, or don’t, in our relationships with others”, whether that is advertisement or personal relationships (Moore, Chris). Imagine having to respond to millions of peoples different ethic beliefs. “Advertisers are in the business of immunization with thousands, even millions, of “others” all the time”, this makes it difficult to have a unanimous type of advertisement that would satisfy all. What advertisers should always try and do is be honest, just, and realistic about the taste and decency of their advertisement.