Those who are in the mass communication industry are bound to be under the heat. That includes those in advertising. Advertisers are always striving to tell the truth. From the Pepsi Challenge, to paper towel absorbency commercials, to the power of a Volvo, advertisers are try to make consumers believe in a product. As stated in the article “Ethics in Advertising” by AEF, “With at least five different government agencies looking over our shoulder, the cost of being caught cheating is simply too high.” It would stupid for an agency to lie. Someone would find the truth and not only would consumers be lost, but the advertising agency would lose a client and its reputation.
I do think that there are some areas, however, that should be closely monitored in the advertising industries. I think the most controversial areas include: Children, cigarettes and potentially offensive advertising.
Advertising to children
The idea of advertising to children in general is often seen an unethical. Children are easily persuaded. They also have a lot of influence on what their parents buy. However, there are guidelines that must be followed that are constantly under review. For example, the Broadcast Law Blog reported that the FTC hopes to prohibit the advertising of unhealthy foods to children by 2016. One of the most important guidelines established by the CARU states that advertising to children cannot be deceptive .
Overall, I think cigarette advertisements have become very informative. However, it’s taken a long time to get where it is at right now. Here is an example of a Viceroy cigarette ad from the past. Doctors endorsed cigarettes.
One of my main complaints with advertising is offensive content. Most of the times the ads never make it to TV or they are banned soon after. People should not be stereotyped in advertisements. Period. For example, Snickers released commercial featuring Mr. T shooting a Snickers gun at a man walking who was obviously interpreted at being a homosexual.