Ethical Advertising

Topics: Advertising, Violence, Ethics Pages: 11 (3886 words) Published: October 4, 2012
Running Header: Ethical Advertising

Ethical Advertising

Raquel Rodriguez
David Frost
BUS 3200

There is a major concern when it comes to ethical advertising in today’s society. First off not many understand what is and what is not ethical. Companies that use an advertising strategy must be honest, fair and consider taste and decency when deciding on their advertising idea. Advertising companies do a great job when it comes to being truthful due to many regulations. For the most part advertisements are also fair, but need to improve on being fair to children. Where there is major concern is with the taste 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 through 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 service 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.

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 show 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. Companies that use an advertising strategy must be honest, fair and consider 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 15 defines a false ad for purposes of Section 12 as one which is “misleading in a material respect”” (Miller III, 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 not 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 III, James C). This proclaims that anything that is being advertised for sale cannot be deceptive in any way. Due to these regulations and many others, advertising companies have a hard time with getting away with...

References: Dubihlela, Job, and Dorah Dubihlela. "Youth Attitudes towards Advertisements
Depicting Nudity and Alcohol: Ethical Dilemmas in Adveritising." South African Journal of Psychology 41.2 (2011): 207-17
Jones, Tim, Peggy H. Cunningham, and Katherine Gallagher. "Violence in Advertising:
A Multilayered Content Analysis." Journal of Advertising 39.4 (2010): 11-36
Moore, Chris. "Ethics in Advertising." Advertising Educational Foundation –Educational Advertising Resources - AEF. Ogilvy and Mather, 2004. Web. 6 Dec. 2011. <>.
Snyder, Wallace S. "The Ethical Consequences of Your Advertisement Matter." Journal
of Advertising Research 48.1 (2008): 8-9
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