Wk 12: Ethical issues in marketing

  1. Previous ideas to build on
    • Three dimensions of adequate exchange
    •  Adequate information
    •  Adequate rationality
    •  Adequate freedom from coercion
    •  Informational rules
    •  1-2. Inadequate
    •  3. Fairness rule (which the buyer could not be reasonably expected to know about
    • unless informed by the seller)
    •  4. Mutual benefit rule (which the buyer does not possess)
    •  5. Excessive
    •  Dependence effect
    •  Galbraith states unethical to create a desire and then market towards it
    •  Response: Need to find out about product, producer cannot determine particular
    • wants, allows for development and creativity
    •  Paternalism as a problem with consumer protection
    •  Strong paternalism (disallowed except in special cases)
    •  Weak paternalism (allowed)
  2. Ethical concerns
    • We will consider these practices with regard to number of different ethical concerns:
    • 1. Misrepresentation and deception (need for adequate info)
    • 2. Using people as mean to an end (need for adequate rationality)
    • 3. Manipulation and coercion (need for adequate freedom from compulsion)
    • 4. Autonomy and liberty (avoidance of paternalism where not necessary)
    • 5. Cumulative effects of advertising
  3. Stereotyping
    • Spence and Van Heekeren argue that advertising requires stereotyping- has to get the message across to a target market in a short time. 
    • What is stereotyping? a form of shorthand
  4. Vic government gender portryal guidelines for outdoor advertising 2002
    • Advertising should portray women and men as equally competent in a wide range of activities both inside and outside the home including the workplace. 
    • Advertising should portray both women and men in the full spectrum of diversity, including age, appearance, background.
  5. UK advertising code for TV
    Advertisements must not prejudice respect for human dignity or humiliate, stigmatise or undermine the standing of identifiable groups of people
  6. British codes for advertising and sales promotion
    • Advertisement should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
    • Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
    • Compliance with the codes will be judged on the context,medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency.
  7. Aus association of national advertisers
    Advertisements shall not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on the account of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, sexual preference, religion, disability or political beliefs.
  8. Advertising federation Aus
    • Respect all people
    • No stereotypes please.
    • Individuals should be understood, not portrayed in a way that could bring disrespect.
    • Use humour, but avoid cheap shots.
  9. When is stereotyping wrong?
    • Where it is a misrepresentation of reality and therefore deceptive
    • Where it is a misrepresentation that may be harmful.
    • Where it may belittle people as individuals and do them harm because it damages their self-esteem eg. the non thin young woman.
    • Where it omits other types of people and therefore reinforces under representation.
  10. More generally on stereotyping
    • Strereotyping is inherently ethically problematic
    • It treats people as means rather than ends in themselves which offends the deontological kantian categorical imperative
    • It commodifies the group identity of people it stereotypes.
    • It personifies the commodities it advertises
    • Therefore it must be used with extreme care-
  11. If stereotyping is wrong, does that mean advertising is wrong?
    • Some stereotyping may cause harm and treat people as means and may therefore be morally objectionable
    • The problem of using people as a means to an end only holds if we are following Kantian/deontological ethics.
    • If we are utilitarians about ethics then advertising is morally acceptable if the benefits outweigh the costs.
    • This allows regulation of advertising- advertisements where there is significant harm can be prohibited eg. cigarettes and 'thin' advertisements
  12. Image advertising
    Image advertising uses an image of an idealised person-type who is usually portrayed as a user of the product and invite the potential consumer to identify themselves
  13. Bishop's ethical critique of image advertising
    • Bishop suggests the following conerns must be addressed with regards to advertisements based on image
    • Whether they make false or misleading promises
    • Whether they promote false values
    • Whether they cause harm
    • Whether they threaten the autonomy of the individual
  14. False promises
    • Is the viewer of an image advertisement being unconsciously/subconsciously manipulated?
    • The advertisement works by making the believe that if they use the product they will be just like the model with regard to the relevant characteristic (eg. they will have flawless skin)
    • It is generally accepted that this is not the intent nor the consumers interpretation.
    • Is this the case for all consumers?
  15. False values?
    • Do the presuppositions of certain advertisements support false values?
    • Advertisements not criticised for their claims but for their presuppositions (eg. wrinkles are flaws, slim is beautiful)
    • Presuppositions are unstated and viewer may not be conscious of them
    • Presuppositions may promote false values
    • There may be a cumulative effect of false values
  16. Cumulative effects of false values
    • Is there a cumulative effect in respect of the promotion of false values?
    • Large amount of advertising support similar presuppositions (eg. slim is beautiful)
    • Results in emphasis on 'false' values
    • Some consumers may be particularly vulnerable to taking on false values (eg. teenage girls and slim value)
    • But are we concerned about the messages they are creating OR the power businesses have to determine community values and shape our worlds.
  17. Risks to autonomy
    • Autonomy of choice regarding:
    • Exposure to advertisements
    • Acceptance of symbols (eg chanel= elegance, beauty)
    • Acceptance of images as role models
    • Choice to buy product

    • Autonomy of desire- cpacity to resist irrational or unwanted desires
    • Social autonomy: capacity to freely construct oneself in interaction/relationships with others.
  18. Bishop's conclusion
    • Concluded that image advertising may promote false values and therefore those advertisements that promote false values may be ethically condemned- particularly where images undermine self-esteem
    • However he argues that image advertising generally does not restrict autonomy- an exception is where self-esteem is undermined to the point of threatening rationality
Card Set
Wk 12: Ethical issues in marketing
Wk 12: Ethical issues in marketing