Socially Unacceptable

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Advertisers regularly face criticism about the ethical implications of their ads. Ethical issues in advertising include ads that are untruthful and deceptive, manipulative, offensive or in bad taste, reinforce or create stereotypes, foster materialism and greed, and take advantage of people's fears and insecurities. In an advertising and marketing context, ethics is equivalent to a society's notions of right and wrong, honesty, integrity, purity and morality. Against all these notions should an ad be judged and regulated. This particular ad from Calvin Klein might dispute many of our society's moral convictions or ethics. Does this ad, which promotes questions of morality, reflect our culture's ideas about gender and sex roles or does it teach our society something about gender and sex roles? Does advertising as edgy as this example copy our society's moral notion's or create new notions? This ad might be considered unethical by a reasonable consumer in the sense that it is in bad taste and possibly offensive, it perpetuates modern sex role stereotypes and an argument could be made about the ad being deceptive. Among these three main issues, one stands out more than the others in finding this ad to be unethical—the ad undeniably perpetuates modern sex role stereotypes. This ad portrays three groups in a narrow, stereotypical manner: 1) young people/the single generation, 2) women, and 3) men. Because there are two young people nearly naked in the ad, this generation is represented as a sexually explicit generation. The young girl is turned completely toward the guy with her arms around him as she leans all over him. She's also wearing nothing more than underwear. This clearly perpetuates the stereotype of women as sex objects. She looks like she's ready to jump into bed with this guy without any inhibitions. Furthermore, the guy is half-clothed and sitting very casually with a self-important grin. His facial expression is one of triumph and arrogance, while...
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