Sadat (IT) Academy

Dr. Gary H. Jones





Under the Social Contract view, the purposes of advertising are to inform consumers (customers) about products and services and to persuade customers to purchase them--and to do this in ways that do not lie, deceive, conceal, or withhold the truth.

Arguments in favor of advertising (pro):
a.  To inform
b.  To improve customer freedom of choice (including, sometimes, political choice)
c.  To enhance (enrich) customer self-esteem (my hair is beautiful; I smell good; I belong to an elite group)
d.  To improve a company's reputation
e.  To help companies be more competitive with other firms (expand national markety share)
f.  To help maintain and expand the national economy
g.  To help expand a company's international market share

Arguments against advertising (con):
a.  It is expensive (adding to the cost of products and services)
b.  It is often deceptive (that is, untrue)
c.  It is often aimed at children (who cannot distinguish between truth, exaggeration, and lies)
d.  Driven by the profit motive, advertising is not concerned about customer health and welfare
e.  Similarly, advertising often promotes products that are legal, but harmful (tobacco, alcohol)
f.  Advertising reinforces stereotypes--especially of women ("a woman's place is in the home, or the kitchen")

Ethics and Advertising
In conclusion, we must ask:
1.  Is the consumer being treated as just a "means to an end" (profit) or as an end?
2.  Whose rights are being protected, or violated (either intentionally or inadvertantly)?
3.  Are consumers being justly and fairly treated?
4.  Is the public welfare (public good) being taken into consideration (as well as promotion of sales)?