Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Does being unethical bring business?

Emily Finton
ef385214@ohio.edu

Advertising is tricky, but it's also effective. In some cases, leaving an effect on an audience doesn't create the expected response and instead leads to repercussions that the advertiser or brand cannot take back. The saying "what you put on social media can come back to haunt you" has a few prime examples. But after the damage is done, what really happens to these businesses?

In the horrifying story of the Rehtaeh Parsons, Facebook was quick to pull an advertisement and apologize on the behalf of a sketchy dating website, Ionechat.com. Facebook obviously wasn't the one to post the terrible advertisement using Rehtaeh's pictures, but they had to take action over it. The entire story is sickening, when a young girl is raped and pictures of her surface the internet. But after a suicide attempt that later led to her death, i find it so disgusting to use images of her to promote a brand. This is one of the most unethical examples of advertising I have ever heard of.

Although Facebook made several apologies and banned the dating website from being a member of its social media site, the mournful images are still being traced around the internet. Unlike Facebook, there are some companies that aren't as responsible and make their apologies less meaningful.

The history of brands not taking what they have done seriously and repeating their actions has long been happening. Kenneth Cole has promoted his brand several times unethically. During a gruesome act of violence in Syria where 1,400 people were killed and the United States were planning on attacking, Cole was nothing less than problematic. He tweeted the following: "Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear

After issuing so many apologies from past improper advertisements, you want to believe that the clothing designer would think before he tweets. After posting the tweet above, his reaction was anything but apologetic. This made him even more controversial, which ended him up on several major media outlets. This should be a reversal in the progress of his brand, but instead it's all part of his business strategy.


Apparently, business for Cole was up after the offensive tweets. Business for companies has been rising for reasons you wouldn't want to think. Microsoft attacking Google has created more revenue for Microsoft, and they have professionals doing their dirty work to create content. Professionals do a lot of behind the scenes marketing to influence people of all ages.

Since I was young, I have noticed sexualization in ads, even with fast food companies. The use of skinny women and how they promote a business is extremely odd to me, but even worse it's hurting young girls and how they view theirselves. Several organizations are working to combat this. For example, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. They list their grievances on their website


(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

Advertising doesn't have to be harmful and unethical. To big businesses though, the profit is what matters. For years to come, we will be exposed to more marketing that will be questioned. The real concern is how unethical these advertisements may become for publicity.

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