Advertising & Consumer Sovereignty Essay

1846 Words Jan 3rd, 2011 8 Pages
Advertising & Consumer Sovereignty

Advertising in the modern day has developed alongside the advent of business ethics as a scholarly and academic practice. As the ethical environment of business has seen a surge in study and discipline, advertising has undergone even more intense scrutiny and discussion. Though advertising and criticism is no new marriage as it has been under the microscope since its takeoff in the 1930s, developments in both approach by advertisers and its critiques has lead to an even heavier discussion than before. The focal point of this critique revolves around the notion of consumer sovereignty and how it theoretically has been altered by the ad. The aim of this paper is to address this very subject and
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Advertising as an entity also falls under the accusation of wrong doing by both ethics (academic) and consumer ethics and perception. An ad that may be offensive, tasteless, stereotypes, or contain factual claims that are false may ultimately do more damage than good. “Shock and awe” ads fall victim to these perils more so than others, as an attempt to standout from the plethora of advertisements taken in by consumers everyday. Regulations within the United States under the FTC aim to regulate advertising that is deceptive or unfair. Though these regulations are often perceived as loose and almost nonbinding, advertising in this sense must become self-responsible. Ads which do not adhere to this self-responsible character and go “wild” end up hurting both producer and consumer. Besides the cliché, “any publicity is good publicity,” the ad, which does not self-regulate, falls into the pitfall of alienating more of their base than attracting it. Both consumer and society will shun the producer to a certain extent. This can be seen with tobacco companies and their regulations in advertisement since the 1960’s . This presents the general criticisms that advertising undergoes, which will further lead into the controversy surrounding consumer sovereignty. The two major talking points is that advertising create desires in us that we feel the need to satisfy, by this action leads a population to

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