Ethics in Marketing/Advertising
The Beauty Industry
November 22, 2011
The marketing involved with most advertising campaigns involves convincing the consumer that they will personally benefit from the purchase and use of their product. The beauty industry is infamous in this regard, since it has been the beauty industry that changes how the general public defines beauty. Unrealistic images create unattainable physical goals for the consumer who desires to look like the models in the advertisements.
"Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don't reflect reality. With one in four people feeling depressed about their body, it's time to consider how these idealized images are distorting our idea of beauty" (Britain bans 2 misleading makeup ads, 2011). In July, 2011 two advertisements for a Maybelline wrinkle cream featuring models Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington were banned because they were deemed to be too airbrushed and were misrepresenting the product.
The United States is somewhat behind in the attempt to regulate advertising and misleading product claims. “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had yet to offer a precise legal definition , and none of the attempts by marketing theorists and others to define deception in advertising has been entirely successful” (Boatright, 2009). Since an ad can legally take advantage of relatively few consumer’s ignorance, just not create a general false belief, it is difficult to prove deceptive advertising motives.
Consumers, especially women, mainly young women, are the most negatively impacted by the false advertising in the beauty industry. Statements like “simulated imagery” and “results not typical” in tiny font at the bottom of the page do little to inform the viewer that the pictures they see may be misleading. Instead, the viewer compares the offered image to their reflection in the mirror every day, wondering why there is such a difference.
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