Much of the controversy over advertising stems from the ways many companies use it as a selling tool and from its impact on society’s tastes, values, and lifestyles. In the ads where sexual stereotyping is used, there is a relationship between the recall of the ad and the consumer’s subsequent purchasing decision. Similar relationships are also evident in ads that use cultural stereotyping and emotional exploitation. Consumers also tend to remember the ad and get motivated to purchase products/services when they feel that the information in the ad is truthful and not deceptive.
The six most important ethical issues in advertisements are as follows:
1) Advertisements targeting Vulnerable Groups
2) Cultural issues in advertisements
3) Comparative and Competitive Advertisement
4) Subliminal advertisements
5) Use of deception in advertisements
6) Advertisements of Controversial Products
Advertisements targeting Vulnerable Groups
Companies are targeting children in their advertisements irrespective of the negative impact and affect on their personality. While advertising several elements regarding ethics are not considered, and in this report we will focus on few of those issues.
Adults are also targeted by the companies. Later in this report it will be discussed how companies build perceptions and image of different cultures in minds of young generation. How the youth is being affected by the companies’ unethical practices?
Advertisement regarding Culture
The importance of recognizing human differences such as age, gender, and ethnicity do exist and can significantly impact a practitioner’s work. Advertisers are manipulating the cultural ethnicity and are trying to build their own culture. However their practice is considerably raising the cultural issues in different and diversified geographical areas around the globe.
Comparative and Competitive Advertisement
Comparative advertising is an advertisement in which a particular product, or service, specifically mentions a competitor by name for the express purpose of showing why the competitor is inferior to the product naming it, where as Competitive advertisement points out features of a brand which may not be available in other brands, but does not directly name a competitor.
A subliminal message is a signal or message embedded in another medium, designed to pass below the normal limits of the human mind's perception. The use of subliminal messages in advertisement is called subliminal advertisement.
Deception in Advertisements
The miss-presentation or omission of the product’s features in the ads is a routine practice of companies to deceive consumers. Misleading messages or images are just lies and unfair. The aim of this type of advertisements is just to deceive the consumer. Ethics have some power in deceptive and misleading advertising. Later in this report various ways of deception will be discussed to clarify the unethical practices.
Advertisements of Controversial Products
The advertisements of controversial products were once not acceptable but now marketers are showing the advertisement of these products frequently because of which consumers are getting immune to the advertisements of such products. Later in this report we will discuss what kind of unethical practices marketers are using in the advertisements of such products.
ADVERTIEMENT TARGETING VULNERABLE GROUPS
Companies design the advertisement of their products in such a way that even if a person has no need for the product will buy it. Companies take "Persuasive advantage" of vulnerable groups such as Children, the elderly, and people in developing countries etc. to sell their products.
Ads for kids serve as training for consumer culture; hence, their role in culture formation and...