Is Advertising a Mirror or a Maker of the Evils in Society

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Introduction
This paper is discussing ethical evils which are used within advertising and the relationship this advertising has within today’s society. Complaints in advertising have increased by 7.9% since 2006 with violence being at the centre of these complaints (ASA, 2007). We will centre this paper on violent advertising, but, we will also look briefly at two other ethical issues within advertising, racism and alcohol we will look at the arguments for and against the effects these forms of advertising have within today’s society. Complaints in violent advertising are on the increase, between January and October 2007, 1748 complaints were made (ASA, 2007). Violent advertising is not all the same, there are different types of violence within advertising the identifiable core areas where violent advertising is present is within film and game advertising, advertising featuring guns and knives and other types of advertising depicting types of violence such as domestic violence we will be looking at these areas within the paper, along with the interpretations of violent advertising and specifically looking at how it can affect children. Racism within advertising are now rarely seen due to modern day standards of equality but when an advertisement is seen to be sexist or racist it sparks a debate within society, we will discuss the impacts of such advertisements. Alcohol is not necessarily considered as an evil within today’s society but when the advertising is viewed by people under the age of 18 it can present a problem, we will look at the effects that advertising can have on persons under the legal drinking age. Is advertising a maker of evil in society

Before we can start to look at violence in advertising it is important that we understand what violence is, the modern day interpretation of violence states that the definition of violence came to the conclusion that there is various types of violence and it cannot all be accurately defined (Berger, A. 1994) which therefore means that perceptions of violence can be different within society today. The committee of advertising practice (CAP) ruling on violent advertising is “Marketing communications should contain nothing that condones or is likely to provoke violence or anti-social behaviour.” The CAP codes are put in place so not to cause problems within advertising, those who do not apply with the CAP codes may be subject to sanctions (Eleventh edition of the British Code of Advertising, 2004).. One of the major issues that needs to be addressed is how children see this advertising and if this advertising makes violence seen as acceptable behaviour within today’s society, previously research suggests that children’s understanding of advertising remains at a superficial level until early adolescence (Oats, C. 2001) therefore suggesting that if children were to be exposed to violent advertising it would not make a significant impact on them because they have a limited understanding on what the advertising is portraying. In contrast to this a new study has shown that what we previously thought the age of children’s understanding to advertising is much lower with children understanding the advertising at the age of seven (Owen, L. 2007), if violence is being portrayed as a positive thing within advertising and children are being exposed this, it could have an impact on the way children act within today’s society. The concern with violent advertising is the how it could effect children’s attitudes towards life, children have a high exposure to advertising it is estimated that through television alone they watch to 40,000 advertisements a year and these figures may still be underestimated, it is also suggested that such high exposure to advertisement will change attitudes this has already been seen through children’s eating habits and the relationship this has with advertising.(REFRENCE MEDIA HANDBOOK) This can therefore lead us to believe that a high exposure to violent...
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