Advertising Ethics

Obliterating, 2003) There have been various advertising laws implemented over the last decade aiming to protect consumers. These laws require company advertisers to be truthful about their products and be able to substantiate their claims. (Bunnies. Gob, 2009) . The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the government agency that enforces these laws and has created the FTC Act that demands that advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive; advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and advertisements cannot be unfair. (Business. Ova, 2009) It is difficult for some companies to draw the line to tell if heir ad campaign or promotion is unethical or not under the FTC Act. There are many resources and guides to help companies verify that they are complying with federal advertising laws, but not all companies are good at self-governing themselves or they still try to get around the Act’s provisions to make it seem up to standard. Company advertisements must constantly compete for consumers time and attention and it must be as persuasive and credible as possible to build brand loyalty.

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In my opinion, not enough attention is given to advertising ethics. Think there needs to be more exultation services monitoring advertisement use of product deception, false advertising to children, ads for legal advices, negative misconstrued political ads, and stereotyping in ads. (Hyman, 1994) think the best way to determine whether or not an advertisement is unethical or not is by initiating and implementing measures similar to the Canadian Code of Advertising.

Their code has similar guidelines and principles as the ones set by the LISA FDA but they pay particular attention to responsible advertising issues related to the following practices: Accuracy and Clarity Disguised Advertising Techniques Price Claims Safety unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals Advertising to Children The Code of Advertising Standards was fist published in 1963 and since then has been updated periodically to keep its provisions up to date and relevant.

The way it works is if consumers feel that a particular advertisement does not comply with the Code of Advertising Standards, they may complain to the ACS. These concerns are referred to the national or regional Consumer Response Councils (or Advisory Panels). These independent bodies, composed of senior industry and public representatives, meet regularly to view and decide on complaints. (Media Awareness Network, 2009) Also the code is designed to be utilized as an instrument for self-regulating but it is also intended for use by the Courts as a reference document within the framework of applicable laws. Media Awareness Network, 2009) Another consumer advertisement watchdog out there is a non-profit anti- consumerism organization called Ad Busters Media Foundation that was created back in 1989. Their website was designed to disseminate factual information through their “superstitions to daily critical mass tips, from exposing Corporate propaganda, to downshifting your lifestyle and treading lightly on the planet”. (debaters. Com) They consider themselves a global network of “culture summers” and creative working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society. Debaters. Com) “Culture jamming” is a term they use for people who disrupt the status quo of corporate influence. (Unguent, 2004) The youth video was obviously practicing unethical behavior because they tried to dupe the viewer into visiting their website (users who are most likely influenced by them) by rerouting them to their web page. This is a perfect example of unethical advertising called behavioral targeting. The youth video that rerouted you to the Cisco advertising web page is a disguised advertising technique that violates consumer privacy issues and in my opinion is just simply annoying.

Behavioral Targeting Do you think Behavioral Targeting (BIT) is ethical and conforms to market research standards? How can companies gather customer data without infringing individual rights to privacy? Behavioral targeting today such as “network based tracking’ and “deep packet inspection”, have been used by media companies and agencies for decades. (History, 2008) I think that behavioral targeting is acceptable when it comes to companies simply using market research messages based on viewer’s web browsing activities.

I think that in some cases, BIT can be beneficial to the consumer and advertiser because it just simply displays more relevant ads targeted to the business interest of the viewer and has no relation to their personal lives. However, when online advertisers cross into the threshold of BIT by using consumer’s personal information such as addresses social security numbers, bank account statements, etc. Then they are practicing unethical advertising behaviors. BIT is increasingly under by Congress and consumer advocacy groups. According to a nationwide poll of 2,51 3 U.

S. Adults, 59% said they were not comfortable with websites who use information about their online personal activity to tailor advertisement or content. (History, 2008) The FTC has recommended guidelines for behavioral targeting but the government has yet to make any laws about it. (Decade, 2009) Some companies like Yahoo are responding to consumer concerns about BIT ND has given the viewers the Option to Opt out of targeted advertising on their website and Microsoft already allows users to shut off their targeted ads altogether. History, 2008) It is hard to find a happy medium for online marketers to find a way to gather consumer data without infringing on individual rights to privacy. I think that companies need to change the amount of time they store personal data gathered by users web surfing habits. Google for example, used to store viewer’s web surfing and personal data for 18 months but now it trimmed it down to only nine months. (History, 2008) hind the best ways for companies to gain consumer data without infringing on their personal rights to property is to focus on customer engagement through social networking and media marketing strategies and systems.