Globalization and improved technology have increased competition that has forced many organizations to invest heavily in promotions and advertisements. Inherently, advertising is a powerful tool for reaching the consumers, introducing new products, and increasing sales. It enhances the company reputation and brands in the market (Burrow, 2008, pg46). Moreover, it helps to educate the public about the products and services that are in the market; hence, increasing the sales. Therefore, advertising provides the consumers with information so that they can make informed decisions. Therefore, marketing managers have the responsibility of ensuring that they reduce advertisements that encourage underage drinking (Mohan, 2009, pg 27). This can be done by creating public awareness of the dangers of alcohol consumption. They should set out well-coordinated efforts aimed at reducing underage drinking by fostering mature and responsible drinking habits to adults
Panda (2010) defines advertisement a mass communication medium; thus, require managers to exercise social responsibility. The marketing managers are required to provide correct information about the products and services that they promote (Andreasen, 2011, pg29). This is critical in giving consumer adequate information to make correct choices. Understanding the responsibility towards the public is critical since it has a positive and negative consequences. Imperatively, the consumers’ protection groups and government provide criticism on advertisements. In many cases, they base their arguments on company's' manipulative and deceptive reasons (Panda, 2010,pg37). Many consumers focus their attention on the environmental and social effect of advertisements. Other concerned with the commercial clutter, offensiveness, stereotypes, and value system. For instances, labels designed for alcoholic beverages in retail places have pictures of an older person and not children to avoid alluring the youth and children.
Marketing managers have the responsibility of ensuring that their advertisements meet the ethical norms. In essence, they need to ensure that the messages do not harm the political, social, and morals standards in the society (Lamb, 2011, pg8). Ethical advertisements are those that have limits on decency, does not lie, and don’t make false claims. It can be observed that many advertisements are exaggerative. The sole reasons for marketing managers are to increase their sales. Many are forced to make a false representation by presenting colorful, decorated, and puffed advertisements. The goods and services presented in the markets need to be of the right value, quality, and size. It is ethical to be honest and transparent about such drinking products to not only protect the users but also win their loyalty and trust.
Notably, the businesses are the creation of the society and need to react to the demands of the society. The image of the company is linked to the quality of the products and services that they provide to the consumers (Forsyth, 2005, pg26). Therefore, it is the best interest of the marketing managers' to ensure that the advertisements lead to favorable image of the company. False and misleading advertisements lower the reputation of the corporation in the society. In many instances, companies have failed to indicate the correct information of the ethanol content. Inherently, such misleading information can pose a huge threat to groups such as expectant women. This threatens the life of the users who need to take low content alcohol concentration. For instance, expectant women should be encouraged to take low alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks (Panda, 2010,pg70). This is because excessive consumption of alcohol threatens the life of the unborn baby. It is unethical to give a false advertisement than the actual brand content
The marketing managers should ensure that they observe social responsibility. The advertisements must meet the ethical principles and norms to ensure that the consumers understand and make informed decisions. This is because every business enterprise is a creation of the society and its activities have a social effect (Burrow, 2008, pg26). Proper consideration of the action and policies that promote the public good, enhances harmony, stability, and strength is essential. The marketing managers have the responsibility of developing marketing messages that enhance the dignity of human beings. The messages should not insult the dignity of the people in the society, rather, they should respect them. Moreover, the different ethnic groups and cultures should be presented as equal with the majority of the population. The marketing managers should ensure that the messages consider the vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the poor, and children.
Theories of persuasion asserts that advertisers who intend to mislead the public do design their promotional messages that focus on the reward component (Hunt, 2014, pg39). Notably, the consumers who have a high level of the primitive guidance are likely to be induced by the advertisement. Therefore, marketing managers should avoid testimonial ads that does not offer adequate information on medical studies to the consumers. Managers should uphold high levels of moral responsibility since their actions have an effect on the society (Lamb, 2011, pg30). They should encourage their fellow members to exercise caution to avoid misleading the public.
The truthfulness in marketing is essential in promoting functional and efficient economy by discouraging misleading business practices. The consumers need to be empowered to make informed choices as they have the correct information (Leadley, 2004, pg46). The managers should ensure that they enhance healthy competition by creating equal playing field. They need to encourage other people to provide truthful and accurate information. It is unethical for marketing managers to produce ads that manipulate the consumers to purchase a good or service by concealing information. Advertisers need to ensure that they take care of the ecology by not favoring lavish lifestyles that wastes resources and spoils the environment (Forsyth, 2005, pg18). Additionally, they need to ensure that the messages don’t reduce human progress on cultivating an extravagant lifestyle and acquisition of material goods.
Marketing managers are ethically responsible for ensuring that there is a balance between persuasiveness and honesty (Burrow, 2008, pg40). It is imperative that they should follow the basic tenets of treating other as you would like to be treated. Misleading information on the products can cause a permanent damage to the company if the consumers become aware. The advertiser should avoid using sexual, violent, and fearful messages. The presentation of misleading statistics is unethical and should be condemned as they deceive consumers (Panda, 2010,pg72). The social and demographic groups should be protected; for instance, children are should not be targeted with advertising messages meant for adults. Packaging of alcohol should not demean non-drinkers or show disrespect for individuals who chose not to drink.
Marketing managers should understand that people make choices based on the information they are given (Leadley, 2004, pg60). Therefore, it is critical to mitigating the probability of wrong choices by offering leadership and appropriate disclosures. In other words, the advertisers should make the world a better place by focusing on socially responsible behaviors. They should promote social benefits that transform the world such as charities. The marketing managers’ should observe the laws and ethics on adverts, which means that the message should not have misleading contents on the benefits of the drinks. Essentially, they should not elaborate on the importance of drinking, but instead, warn people against excessive drinking (Lamb, 2011, pg22). It is critical that the contents of the adverts do not include labels meant to lure children into buying drinks.
Inherently, it is the responsibility of the marketing managers to ensure that packaging of alcohol does not promote messages that alcohol enhances intellectual abilities. Companies should desist from promoting their alcoholic products as able to enhance health benefits (Leadley, 2004, pg20). However, they should provide information on the alcoholic content of their products and warn users on excessive drinking. The public should be educated about the effects of excessive drinking, drunk driving, and underage drinking. Moreover, the advertisements should not encourage binge-drinking. It should not encourage intoxication among consumers. Packaging of alcohol should not display images that attract underage consumers, below 18 years. Manager should ensure that the advertised messages on alcohol labels do not state different information from the real contents in various instances.
The debate on misleading advertisement, harmful, and unsafe products, as well as, abuse of marketing channels is raging in the industry. Ethical issues related to online auction, stealth marketing, and e-commerce bears the effects of development in technology (Hunt, 2014, pg55). Marketing managers should delve in the discussion to provide insights into the industry to establish means of combating misleading advertising. They should publish articles and journals to emphasize on the essence of ethical business practices (Kline, 2010, pg33). Professional advice is essential in advising the public on issues that affect their lives.
The consumers judge the appropriateness of advertisement based on the principles of pragmatism, idealism, and relativism (Forsyth, 2005, pg48). The principles of idealism focus on the statement as being wrong or right regardless of the time, culture, and place. In other words, consumers will either state the advertisements as right or wrong and no gray areas. On the other hand, relativism is not based universal rules rather base their arguments of the time, place, and culture. Essentially, advertisements can be ethical in one culture but extremely offensive in another culture. Pragmatism principles base their arguments that advertisements can result in the greatest good for people (Leadley, 2004, pg66). The marketing managers should, therefore, gauge their messages on these principles. They can be able to check if their messages are offensive or productive, to the company and society. The marketing department should ensure that the procedures and process of advertising adhere to these rules.
Marketing managers should develop mission statements that enhance ethical practices in their organizations. They should communicate to the employees on the essence of observing ethical behaviors. The more workers value the importance of ethical conduct, the less likely they will engage in questionable engagements (Hunt, 2014, pg59). They need to understand that consumers are aware of the importance of environment protection, quality of services, and social responsibility of companies. For instance, they should not promote drinking as a measure of social success or celebrity in their packaging. Companies owe the society accurate information and preservation of their values.
Arguably, false and misleading communication has a profound effect on companies as it erodes consumers’ trust and loyalty (Hunt, 2014, pg33). The abuses in the advertisement ethics range from overstated claims and hiding facts to outrights deception. Therefore, the marketing managers should ensure that they employ reputable companies to create an advertisement message. They should evaluate the messages and its possible impact on their market and consumers. Marketing managers should educate the public on their rights as consumers and examine the advertisements if they collate with the products. The role of consumers in reducing the vice is critical as they are encouraged to be vigilant and not gullible (Mohan, 2009, pg 22). They should be encouraged to report on advertisements that they find misleading, incorrect, and offensive to the relevant authority.
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- Fredrick Mwangi (Author), 2015, Use and Ethical Issues of Advertisements as Marketing-Tool, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/294381