Cultural Histories & Theories: 22 Beyond Shopping: The Responsibilities of Consumption
Title: What is ethical advertising? Discuss how designers address such issue nowadays when they convey their message to consumers.
Advertising is often seen as “social messages” that have been given a purpose to attract viewers’ attention. As aimed at the general public, they should be conscientious, or in other words, good. Yet not all aesthetically commendable advertisements convey worthy messages or promote harmless product. The advertising industry sometimes is claimed for not adhering to clear ethical standards. Some suggest that the industry as a whole lacks a strong code of professional conduct and does not always distinguish correctly between what is morally right and wrong, instead it solely focuses on making money. As a result, it ends up becoming a very gray area, as unlike a legal issue, which the law clearly states what can and cannot be done, the area of ethics in the advertising industry is far more subjective. Ranging from advertising cigarettes that are apparently known to cause cancer; to claiming that a sugar-coated cereal is “part of a nutritious breakfast” for children when only the accompanying milk or toast has the actual nutritional value; to implying that the use of a particular perfume will bring crowd of admirers to one’s doorstep. In some cases, legal issues do become involved; the use of excessive “glue or paint” to make a product look more ideal in an advertisement is not only unethical, it is also illegal. Dating back to the early decades, advertising images were intended to be read literally, without much meaning beyond their surface value. However after decades of revolutions, the way advertising delivers messages has been changed drastically. Considering Steven Meisel’s 2001 “Four Days In LA” image of two women in a Versace advertisement. Two almost identical Supermodels Amber Valetta and Georgina Grenville were portrayed as two well-off...
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