Advertising is the main material of a company that is seen, therefore it is more likely to be talked about and receive press. With this high viewing rate comes differing opinions, deep analysis, and criticism. This criticism often focuses on the actions of specific advertisers. Because of this, it is crucial for advertisers to be ethically sound. Advertising and Promotion ethics are moral principles and values that govern the actions and decisions of an individual or group. Advertising is about selling a product, but that is where most of the criticism and controversy resides. Using techniques such as deception, manipulation, being offensive or in bad taste, and being untruthful are understood as an ethical problem. Ad messages are using these techniques and blurring the lines between marketing tactics and popular culture. With ads infiltrating into popular culture it is said to have an effect on society, values, and lifestyles. Because they are everywhere in our everyday lives they are “criticized for encouraging materialism, manipulating consumers to buy things they do not really need, perpetuating stereotypes, and controlling media.”
This idea of “materialism” used within advertisements is very complex because it is the job of advertisers to showcase a company’s product in its best light, but they get criticized for manipulating viewers. Advertisers cannot filter their ads so only the people who need the product see the ad, but they also are always pushing towards receiving new clients to widen their brand and increase brand loyalty. This effects the economy in ways of facilitating entry into markets for a new product or brand, or creates more competition and barriers to entry. There is this hard dichotomy within brands and the public that is surrounded with ethics.
Stance on Ethics
Advertising creates information, whether it be desirable or undesirable. Advertisers are meant to create appealing advertisements that sell a product. However, I believe, while creating the ads, they should remain ethical. Following the federal, state, and local laws and advertising guidelines are a must. This will help and allow the business or company to always be transparent. Advertisers need to keep in mind that they are the ones producing the material, so the interest of the brand and company need to be at the forefront of all decisions. If this is not a priority, the brand name may be tarnished. In whatever they do, the business should be seen in a way that exemplifies and resembles their mission. When viewers see an add that makes them feel connected or compelled they are more likely to purchase the product, or at least learn more about the business. An advertisement should not suppress the acts of other companies, nor should it belittle another product. Advertisers should be aware of how other companies are positioning and advertising their products, but I do not find it necessary to criticize a brand within an ad to get ahead in the market. Since advertisers are the core creators of ads I feel it is important that they follow their own personal ethics while creating an ad. This may be difficult in a group setting because each individual has a different set of values and rules for themselves, but as an advertiser or an employer I would feel the need to stress, encourage, and accept their differences of personal ethics.