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Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions Research Paper

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Updated: May 12th, 2021

Introduction

It is imperative to note that the role of ethical advertising has been increasing over the years, and this aspect is highly valued by many customers. The issue is that many companies have developed strategies that may seem extremely unethical and use them to gain profits. However, the situation has changed because of the introduction of numerous technologies such as the Internet and social media (Finn & Wadhwa, 2014). Questionable advertisements are frequently criticized, and individuals may make posts regarding such issues that are available for everyone. Moreover, the reputation of the company is of utmost importance, and it is imperative to identify what approach is reasonable and would not lead to severe consequences.

Ethical Issues

One of the most important aspects that should not be overlooked is that advertisements to children can be extremely unethical in some cases. The problem is that most young people may not have an understanding of particular factors that are related to the product, and many companies take advantage of this fact (Preston, 2004). Moreover, the situation has worsened by the fact that many children have access to the Internet, and it is not controlled by their parents. Companies take advantage of this fact and develop advertisements that are aimed strictly at young people. Another significant problem that needs to be discussed is the advertisement of products that are harmful. A company must understand that it is responsible for the health and well-being of its customers, and it would not be ethical to promote products if an enterprise has information about its harmful effects.

On the other hand, it may not be an easy task to have an understanding of all possible side effects of a particular product line, but it needs to be promoted. One of the most significant dilemmas that may occur is whether it is ethical to focus on emotional appeal or not. Moreover, it is especially problematic if it focused on a particular event that could have been incredibly traumatic and may not be easy to discuss for many individuals. On the other hand, one of the benefits of this approach is that it would help to draw attention to a significant issue that needs to be addressed. However, the problem is that it is evident that profit is the primary focus of this approach, and it may be extremely unethical if a problem is discussed and a company does not offer any support to people that deal with such complications.

Ethical Dilemma

The choice is either to make unethical decisions associated with the advertisement or to avoid such approaches. Such decisions are made when significant profits are being discussed. One of the core aspects that should not be disregarded is that controversial techniques are often beneficial for the company because it helps to draw attention to particular products. Also, it can be seen that some of its properties may be exaggerated, but it is necessary to ensure that an advertisement is not deceptive because it would lead to many complaints (Zinkan, 2012). On the other hand, it is important to note that companies are constantly pressured by the public, and many are forced to focus on ethics (Kelly, 2005). Moreover, it is especially problematic for enterprises that had to deal with such issues in the past and are trying to avoid possible complications.

Resolution 1

Globalization

It is imperative to note that the aim of the first approach is to avoid all kinds of issues that can be viewed as unethical when it comes to the advertisement. One of the core aspects that should not be overlooked is that the number of competitors is going to increase significantly, and it is entirely possible that the company will suffer because of such policies.

Ethical Relativism

On the other hand, it is believed that an understanding of morality varies from one culture to another. Moreover, this means that an idea to avoid all types of unethical behavior may be quite questionable, and each case needs to be reviewed individually to make a reasonable decision. Also, it is important to understand that an enterprise is going to lose significant amounts of profits because of this approach, and it does not seem reasonable from the perspective of ethical relativism.

Resolution 2

Globalization

The second resolution to this problem is to ensure that advertisements would not be harmful to the customers and to review every single idea and possible complications that may occur. The fact that globalization will have an impact on this approach also should not be disregarded because the knowledge about particular aspects of ethics is going to increase, and it is not likely that a company will be capable of promoting questionable products in other regions.

Ethical Relativism

It is necessary to mention that most aspects of morality are quite different from culture to culture. Moreover, this theory supports the idea that it may not be an easy task to predict all possible consequences of a particular advertisement. However, most agree that a product that may be harmful should not be advertised. Also, it is unethical to take advantage of the fact that some individuals may not have an understanding of all the aspects of the product based on provided information (Green, 2011).

Resolution Choice

It is necessary to mention that the second resolution is the most reasonable in this case because the overall purpose of an organization is to gain profits, and advertisement is one of the core instruments that are used to promote particular products. Moreover, it is entirely possible that some techniques may seem inappropriate or unethical in some cases, but this situation needs to be accepted because a company has to deal with enormous numbers of people. Also, some of the risks related to such advertisements may be justified from the perspective of economics. Furthermore, it is important to understand that the harm associated with this approach is minimal most of the time. Also, the perception of advertisements is relative, and it would not be wise to limit creativity because someone may find it offensive or unethical.

Moreover, this choice is reasonable from the perspective of utilitarianism because it is focused on efficiency and the number of positive outcomes. It is necessary to note that the company should be especially careful when it comes to advertisements for children. The issue is that there have been numerous controversies in the past related to this topic, and they should be avoided (Kaser, 2012). Another core aspect that should not be overlooked is that there is no consensus on which advertisements are ethical and which ones are not. Also, it is evident that some of the decisions that are made by enterprises are highly questionable, and they should have predicted that they would lead to significant losses. Overall, it is important to understand that it is necessary to avoid approaches that are obviously not ethical and may harm customers because the reputation of the company and level of trust may be affected.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that the role of ethics should not be disregarded during the process of development of advertisements because it may lead to severe consequences and could hurt the business in the long-term. It is imperative to mention that several approaches may be considered, and it may be necessary to review every single situation to make a decision that would the most suitable. Moreover, another issue that needs to be discussed is that the role of ethics has been increasing, and the importance of globalization and ethical relativism also must be taken into account.

It is necessary to understand that most advertisements may seem unethical because their overall goal is to identify several factors that can be used to help to sell the product (Beltramini, 2003). However, it is necessary to understand that this situation has formed over the years, and it is not likely that it is going to change anytime soon. Another aspect that is worth mentioning is that new technologies that can be used for advertisement, such as social media, have also been recently introduced, and it is not an easy task to regulate ethics when it comes to the Internet most of the time. Overall, it is necessary to understand that most advertisement techniques are acceptable, but it is necessary to avoid any harm to the customers.

References

Beltramini, R. (2003). Advertising ethics: The ultimate oxymoron? Journal of Business Ethics, 48(3), 215-216.

Finn, R. L., & Wadhwa, K. (2014). The ethics of “smart” advertising and regulatory initiatives in the consumer intelligence industry. Info, 16(3), 22-39.

Green, J. (2011). Advertising. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Kaser, K. (2012). Advertising and sales promotion. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Kelly, I. (2005). Advertising vs. marketing: The ethical challenge. Boca Raton, FL: Universal-Publishers.

Preston, C. (2004). Children’s advertising: the ethics of economic socialisation. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 28(4), 361-370.

Zinkan, G. (2012). Advertising research: The Internet, consumer behavior, and strategy. Decatur, GA: Marketing Classics Press.

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IvyPanda. (2021, May 12). Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-advertising-dilemmas-and-resolutions/

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"Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions." IvyPanda, 12 May 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-advertising-dilemmas-and-resolutions/.

1. IvyPanda. "Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions." May 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-advertising-dilemmas-and-resolutions/.


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IvyPanda. "Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions." May 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-advertising-dilemmas-and-resolutions/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions." May 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-advertising-dilemmas-and-resolutions/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Ethical Advertising: Dilemmas and Resolutions'. 12 May.

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