Problems in implementing a self-regulation system: the case of a young advertising industry

Advertising can be both beneficial and harmful to the consumers. However, in the perspective of kids, they might think that advertising is good, essentially when they get into contact with something that entices them. Honestly, advertising is bad for kids. The primary objective of the advertisers is to market their products for people to buy. Besides, if we are happy with the way things are, then we develop less interest to buy. This is the secret of the advertisers; they subtly try to make the consumers unhappy so that the chances of buying advertised goods get facilitated. The advertisers develop mechanisms to persuade the consumers to buy the products. In many occasions, most of what the advertisers are selling are images or a lifestyle rather than the product itself. Average Americans gets exposed to 3, 000 advertisement per day, thus, by the time of graduation in high school, and they will have watched 350, 000 television commercials. In the bulletins of the commercials, the consumers still have to go through the photo-shop besides putting ton makes ups from the advertisers. Therefore, it is an illusion of their real appearance.

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Advertisement is done on television, radios, internet, billboards, cellphones and magazines. As Higgins, (2008) put it, advertising is a legalized lying. This is standing the truth because some of the products advertised provide different information to the real product. For advertisement targeting at boys, they develop the notion that violence is the answer to making fun among them. However, for girls, they show that dolls and makeup is their interest. According to Žabkar & Jančič, (2004) as a young girl sees advertisement for makeups, the information derived is to advise them to try the product and that provides comfort for them at young age. Advertising makes kids lose their creativity and imagination. Hence, the more they get exposed to advertisements, the more they develop an addiction and instead of creating time to play and socialize with peers, they rather get glued inside watching television which is unhealthy. According to research evidence, 16 percent of the kid are overweight and need to play because they are inactive. Televisions continually brainwash many kids with advertising.Advertising is an important institution because it provides the required information and knowledge about the products and services. However, ethical standards in advertisement must be observed. Many ethical concerns have been raised by myriad stakeholders in the company of advertising. Ethics, mostly referred to as the domain of inquiry is a discipline in which matters of wrong and right, virtue and vice, good and evil are systematically examined. Advertisement ethics examines advertising morality and advertising systematically. Advertising of toys, none violent games and sugar loaded focuses on the children who are the highest consumers in the market. Besides, decisions on advertisement are about making morally right decisions. The morality of advertisement includes all parts of sourcing of product quality and pricing. Scholars have viewed ethical behaviour in dissimilar ways; however, it is based on the experiences and personal values (Taylor, 2008). Ethical advertisement forms the marketing strategies of the company. However, it all counts on the company objectives and what they know is expected by the consumers in the product.

Theoretical Approach to Ethics in Advertising

        The publication of the affluent society provided influential and important critique of advertising. It argues that businesses concentrate on generating rather than focusing on consumer satisfaction. The approach claims that the company system has assumed sufficient power and size to render the consumer on making personal decision such as what and how much is produced. Ideally, this characterizes the revised sequence-a categorical denial of the accepted sequence of the independence of the consumer, which accords the economic system power to the individual. Besides, the modern industrialized countries had an effectively planned economy ruled by large corporations with minimal respect to the interests of the public. Galbraith also observed the massive expenditures for creating a huge scale. Elsewhere, in 1958, Packard’ populist work titled the hidden persuaders brought moral concerns about consumer manipulation.Besides, Bentham on his personal argument would oppose advertisement. The utilitarianism theory, however do not offer a clear-cut opposition for advertisement. He asserts that he greatest happiness of the greatest number gets determined by the consulting the hedonic calculus. Therefore, it is of fair reasoning that the advertisement is bad for the kids. However, he argues that if greater happiness is achieved through advertisement, then there is no harm. But the consequence is what counts. Based on the utilitarianism advertisement is harmful to kids due to its unhealthy consequences. On the other hand, Kant would declare in no certain terms are advertisement beneficial for the kids. What is wrong is wrong…period. The theory argues that it is wrong because it translates to dishonesty. Advertisement on kids is cheating them and treating the kids as end agent. As Kant puts it, this violates the categorical imperative (Kopf, 2009). Besides, the advertising consequences are irrelevant in determining the ethical or unethical of the advertisements. Dishonesty is dishonesty and advertisement to kids is immoral. The duty of an individual is to tell the truth, to be honest in the information given.Mumel, Pisnik, Horvat & Makovec, (2013) explain the Rand theory by noting that he would oppose advertisement since it compost of dishonesty, however not on deontological grounds. Besides, dishonesty is harmful since it has dire consequences on the lives of the consumers especially the kids. Providing false information in the advertisement is dishonesty because it is a pretense that the product is not what is advertised. Besides, refusal by the industry system to perceive the facts I like shutting the eyes of the consumers to reality. According to the theory, advertising is unethical because advertising to kids operates to destroy and negates the objective and necessary reason for promoting the consumer’s lives.

Dishonesty denies the consumers the efficacy to make individual decisions thus depends on other people’s opinions. According to Rawls, he would conclude that advertisement is unjust, period. Advertisement is harmful since it violates the principle of equal liberty of minimal economic and social inequality. Therefore, according to Rawls, it is ethical to raise a person from poverty to security than to provide the individual with an equal amount of wealth or societal well-being. Ethics, he argues, requires financial gain sacrifices in order to hold justice for the consumers who are least advantaged.

According to his theoretical work, he insists that what is wrong is wrong. It is wrong due to its dishonesty. Conversely, the advertisement industry is cheating the kids with their advertisements.


        Advertising is widely bombarded by critics. Besides, it is accused of promoting consumption and materialism, using sex cell, stereotyping, of causing people to buy the product they need, manipulating consumer behaviour or of taking advantage of children and overall it contributes to the downfall of the social system. The advertisement critics abound. Since hardly a week can go without some company or advertisement or the advertising industry being focal point of controversy. Even if the consumer argues it out that they hold the sovereignty of the economy, the industry of advertisement does not provide an ethical justification of the traditional marketing theory. The emergence of ethical concerns in organizations is a complex phenomenon that incorporates social interaction and individual interpretation. Theorizing about ethics needs to reflect and match the complexity


Higgins, N. (August 20, 2008). Advertising ethics. New Scientist, 199, 2670.)Kopf, D. A. (2009). Marketing, information and economic growth.Mumel, D., Pisnik, K. A., Horvat, M., & Makovec, N. (January 01, 2013). What are the characteristics of a good ad for children aged 9 to 12? Creator’s and parents perspective. Marketing Theory Challenges in Emerging Societies.Taylor, G. (August 20, 2008). Advertising ethics. New Scientist, 199, 2670.)Žabkar, V., & Jančič, Z. (January 01, 2004). Problems in implementing a self-regulation system: the case of a young advertising industry. Economic and Business Review, 6, 2.)

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