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ADVDMKTopic4 - Advertising and Direct Marketing Topic 4...

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Advertising and Direct Marketing Topic 4 - Ethics in Advertising Advertising has tremendous power as providing “silent information” as to how we should interact and present ourselves. The messages help consumers see the possibilities and meanings in the things they buy and this information also liberates meanings that lie below the surface. For example, the Doyle, Dane Bernbach Advertising Agency’s Volkswagen ads turned the unlikely automobile into a mobile social statement. The Beetle, a car designed by Hitler as a vehicle to move his work force on his new autobahns, migrated to the United States in the 1950’s as an alternative car where “less was more” while the van traversed the country often times emblazoned with a peace symbol across the front. Advertising is a part of our everyday culture and we are bombarded with perhaps 1,600 messages a day. Hence ads must, to some degree, influence/change the cultural consciousness /behavior of the public. Certainly it promotes a higher quality of good through the identification of a particular manufacturer, creates a need for that manufacturer to maintain quality, gives business the ability to roll-out new products fast enough to offset the costs of creating such new products and it protects industry from government and special interest control due to the democratization of information. Ethics reflect a society’s notions about rightness or wrongness of an act and distinctions between virtue/vice. Ethics is often thought of as a set of principles or code of moral conduct. Ethics involves the evaluation and application of those moral values that a society or culture has accepted as its norms. The study of ethics in the Western world began nearly 2,500 years ago when Socrates, according to his student Plato, traveled Greece challenging notions about justice and goodness. This Socratic method of inquiry, consisting of relentless questions and answers about the nature of moral conduct, remains today as a process of thought—a debate about conflicting standards within a culture. Moral agents are those who make ethical judgments and all communicators become moral agents when they confront the ethical dilemmas of their professions. Ethical standards often vary according to social roles (e.g., the role of an advertiser who is also a parent may conflict when confronted with cigarette or liquor advertising). Ethical decisions are made within a “specific context” which includes the political, social and cultural climate. Though the context does not always determine the outcome of the ethical judgment, it exerts an influence and creates and internal conflict which brings us into a moral combat with the popular thing to do.
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We must examine the motives of moral agents because often they can be used to justify what appears to be an unethical act (cigarette companies offering restitution to cancer
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ADVDMKTopic4 - Advertising and Direct Marketing Topic 4...

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