Media Culture & Society
6 April 2009
Research Assignment #3
Topic: Is advertising ethical?
Reast, Jon, Dayananda Palihawadana, and Haseeb Shabbir. “The Ethical Aspects of Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs in the United Kingdom: Physician versus Consumer Views." Journal of Advertising Research 48.3 (Sep. 2008): 450-464.
This article reports the findings of two surveys examining U.K. physician and consumer attitudes to the introduction of direct to consumer advertising (DTCA), and its likely impact, if implemented, in the strategically important U.K. prescription drug market. The findings, in general, suggest that neither physicians nor consumers are positively disposed to the advertising of prescriptions drugs, although significant differences in attitudes toward such policies emerged between the two groups based upon "ethics and approval levels," "ethics-related impacts," and the "impact of unbranded disease awareness campaigns." The findings for consumers and physicians do not at present support the extension of DTCA in the United Kingdom, but are supportive of a continuation of unbranded "disease awareness" campaigns. Guidance for practitioners within the established U.S. DTCA marketplace is also provided.
There is no doubt that the purpose of advertising is to sell a product, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unethical. In the realm of pharmaceutical advertising, drug manufactures not only promote their particular drugs, they also give valuable disease information that their product is supposed to treat or cure. These manufactures are not promoting a lifestyle to sell their product like other forms of advertisement but rather to prevent suffering and increase disease awareness.
After reading this article I recalled those Valtrex ads that are used to prevent the spread of genital herpes. The Valtrex ad does not promote getting genital herpes in order for you to use their product, but rather more information concerning genital herpes itself. The company encourages safe sex practice to prevent getting the disease, but if you have herpes, it reminds you that there is help for you.
Hust, Stacey J.T. “Alcohol advertising and youth: themes, appeals and future directions.” International Journal of Advertising 25 (2006): 545-47.
This article discusses how alcohol ads are problematic for youth viewers. The difficulty is that many younger people cannot differentiate between the advertisement and reality. The real-life consequences and the advertising fantasy world are indistinguishable to youthful individuals. Analyses of such ads find that they include portrayals of risky activities with positive reinforcement of alcohol consumption. The author suggests that there be more research into the themes and appeals used in alcohol ads.
The author concludes that alcohol advertisers are specifically targeting the youth. The author further concludes that the themes and appeals in alcohol advertising are very similar to the themes and appeals of milk and soda pop adds. The author contents that what appeals to a 13 year old would not appeal to a 24 year old, but yet there are great similarities in advertising of milk and soda pop with that of alcohol.
The legal age to consume alcohol in the United States is twenty-one, but yet alcohol advertising is targeting people under the legal age. They are specifically using techniques to draw and lure kids to drink alcohol like they would do with soda pop. If this isn’t something that is unethical in advertising then I don’t know what is.
Teinowitz, Ira. “Philip Morris USA slams ‘Truth’ ads from foundation.” Advertising Age 71.7 (14 Feb. 2000): 3-71.
This article discusses issues...