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Ethical Marketing as an Enduring Philosophy

Under the moral obligations of any business entity, an ethical market requires a business to market its product in such a way that it appeals to basic customer needs and goes further to appeal to acceptable social norms and virtues. These are especially important for any thriving society in the sense that they bring a social environment that can accommodate a large diversity of people which in turn interprets to good market.

This means ethical advertising is not just mere public relations policy but an enduring philosophy. From a deeper analysis this requires a business entity to develop an honest and reliable relationship with their clientele arising from common values that work to sustain the overall business relationship all through how the business advertises its products and services. Companies today that abide by these principles analyze their decision-making models in a manner responsive to whether the advertisement will yield the desired returns by effectively reaching the desired target audience and secondly, whether the decision model adopted is morally abiding to the requirements of the ethical advertising.

Unethical Advertising

Having stated the above, it is plausible to understand the business mentality of advertisement. In any business entity, advertising is one of the main departments that determine the firm’s overall productivity. For a desperate business entity, the management will tend to overlook certain obligations in a desperate attempt to improve sales. In other case scenarios, the management may see unethical marketing appealing to a certain target market and, as such, take a strategic risk to gunner profits to unprecedented levels. The most common is advertisement aimed at the youth and the unsophisticated population appealing to their taste in things that are not essentially in their best interest. In our modern society, liberalized markets have created a very competitive market, making businesses adopt unorthodox advertising methods that violate ethical marketing principles.

Examples of ads with questionable marketing ethics

McDonald’s case study

“Spice your ads up with a pinch of emotions, and they’ll buy it.” This is a marketing phrase that is very intuitive and safe in a legal sense. McDonald’s, however, took it to the extremes with their emotional advertising model. The highly debated ad is commonly referred to as the dead dad ad. It features a boy who is on a quest to seek the things he has in common with his dead father. At first, in his innocent naivety, he looks for the basic things such as eye color, music taste, and shyness around girls, but none of these match their personalities. At last, the boy and his mom arrive at the Golden Arches restaurant, where he orders a Filet O Fish, which coincidentally was his father’s favorite meal.

The guiding principle in ethical advertising is appealing to the emotions of the masses. It is a proven principle that emotions make good sales if strategically used in advertising. The society may be on an advancement and modernization rampage. Still, it is the basic principles of a civilized society that state that grief should not be used for commercial or personal gain. McDonald’s might as well mock their avid customers with emotional advertising that is predatorily manipulative.

Adidas Case Study

Adidas is another company that has experienced the effects of word choice gone wrong. Back in 2017, the company was the leading footwear ambassador, and no one could question its efforts to rise so fast. Later, in April of the same year, the sportswear giants released a newsletter that soon became a decision gone wrong in marketing. The newsletter contained a congratulatory message for runners for completing the Boston Marathon. In part, the ad statement read, “Congratulations! You survived the Boston Marathon.” At first, nothing is strange about this statement, but when you look deeper, you can relate to the tragic events of 2013. That means the wording is poor and a cliché that reminds potential customers of bad memories.

From the precedent, it is clear that ethical issues are critical and should form part of the marketing communication decisions. Companies should be wary of promotion and advertising as these are the areas most prone to actions that may lead to highly visible and damaging ads on ethical grounds. A good company should practice ethical marketing because this will consequently lead to business prosperity in the long run.



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