Adverts for loan companies and credit cards use another way of persuading the public to purchase their products. They are misconceiving and do not clearly state all the facts about their products. Most of these adverts state that you can consolidate all your debts into one monthly repayment but only in the small print at the bottom of the screen does it state the interest rates and the early repayment clauses.
These adverts all make the viewers think that it is a great idea and a way to get out of debt but they are actually encouraging you to get into even more debt. They are not untruthful adverts but they do not state the most important facts about their products, making them unscrupulous and unfair. However, if the voice over on the advert stated that there would be high monthly repayments and high interest rates then their products would never sell. It is a vicious circle that advertisers and the public are subjected to.
Catchy slogans and songs can also be seen as unethical in adverts. I have noticed one advert in particular where I think the background song, which is very beguiling, has inappropriate lyrics to it. The advert I am referring to is the Vaseline Intensive Care advert, the advert is in good health and I cannot complain about the ethics of the visual advert, however, the background song uses the Lyrics “Keep young and beautiful, it’s your duty to be beautiful. Keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved”.
Many people would see nothing wrong with this song, as it is not noticeable and you cannot see it to complain about it. However, it is basically stating that if you are not young and are not beautiful then you will never be loved. I think this is an unfair statement as we should treat everyone the same and acknowledge that everyone has their own kind of beauty. If we all took this statement to heart I’m sure we could all find something wrong with us that we could change if we could, and this statement is saying to me, you better change that something wrong otherwise you’ll never be loved. Love is something that nearly all of us long for and many of us would see no point in life if we had no-one to love or be loved by. I do think this advert is unethical, the advert itself would be fine if it were broadcast with different background music.
The fast food giants such as MacDonald’s, Burger King and KFC advertise heavily through television, newspapers and billboards. The food, which they promote, is high in fat e.g. – a Big Mac Burger Meal contains the recommended daily intake of calories for a woman in one meal. Britain is said to be on the brink of an obesity epidemic and according to figures from the Department of Health, more than 8.5% of 6 year olds and 15% of 15 year olds in England are classified as obese, yet these adverts continue to be permitted.
Although full fat products are still the core business for the fast food industry, we are starting to see some retailers introducing salads and pasta onto their menus. This is a positive step forward and it is good to see that the industry is taking the problem seriously. However, I feel that we should be asking to fast food companies to look at their advertising campaigns for the future and bear in mind the state of health of the British population, to which they are contributing in a negative way. Some adverts can be deemed “Ethical” whilst others are clearly not. Advertising is purely a means for a company to increase sales and by doing so, increasing their profit. The type and placing of the companies adverts relates directly to the moral responsibility within that particular business.
Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) is an issue, which is being discussed by the government on a regular basis and companies will soon find that CSR and Fair Trading will become compulsory. CSR relates to every department of a business, including the advertising department and with the introduction of the CSR Bill, companies will be required by law to consider their advertising campaigns to ensure they are ethically and socially responsible.
I think that a lot of the advertising we are subjected to in today’s world is very unethical. Companies are basically brainwashing people to think that they want products that they really don’t need. Children are subjected to adverts whilst watching children’s television and made to think that their childhood will not be happy if they don’t have a certain toy or piece of clothing. Advertises make false promises to viewers, trying to sell a lifestyle with a product rather than just the product itself. Also, as obesity is increasing, adverts targeted at children are increasing too. Companies are making more ‘fun’ foods like cheese strings and mini pizzas, which are extremely high in fat but which attract youngsters. Statistics show that children influence nearly 80% of a family’s food budget, and with adverts like these out there, persuading children to eat the fast type of food, marketers are basically increasing the level of obesity in children themselves.
However, there are some forms of advertising that I think are ethical, the messages on the cigarette packets for example are a great way to put people off and I think this sort of shock advertising should be used in other forms as well. In conclusion, there are many forms of advertising, many ethical and many unethical. It is solely up to individual to decide whether they will be affected by these adverts or not! Although I think there are many unethical adverts out there, we should use our own minds and opinions and not always think that what someone else tells us is right!