Advertisement is one way through product promotion is carried out. There have been many developments in the business world to day, and all these changes have geared toward making the current society be reliant on information more than ever. The movement toward globalization, as well as, the great advancement in information and communication technology has occasioned the above e scenario. Greater attention concerning the information that any firm allows to reach the general public is nowadays under even more careful deliberations than it used to be before. Since the information the consumers receive plays a pivotal role on influencing their choice. There is even a greater need in the market for advertisement specialists to serve the growing market (Gibson 2006).
Advertising industry is one of the main industries in many economies of the modern world. In the US, this industry contributes to around 2% of the countries GDP and has employed hundreds of thousands of people. According to surveys done in many parts of the world, this industry plays a crucial role in providing the information needed by consumers in making their choice. This occurs through the various campaigns done by different firms irrespective of their sizes. One challenge faced by this industry is that it is always in the midst of restructuring, in order adapt to various changes that occur continuously in its life (Fowles 1996).
The first need for restructuring is the ever reducing income available funds for firms to use in advertising. The management is always to apply ethical practices to minimize any discontent among the workforce during lay offs. The other continuous form of restructuring occurs due to ever changing channels of advertising. There used to be traditional forms of advertising. Currently, there is a shift to digital advertising. These makes the management to change the workforce in response to changes in the technology used. The digital advertising is more specific on the clientele, and the message can be delivered specifically to the desired recipient. Ethics still applies as before since it is still the best practice for them to ensure that information is not delivered to the wrong recipients which may not be desirable.
More often than not, managers, as well as, leaders have found themselves at a crossroad in matters relating to advertising. Sometimes, this goes even further to include other issues. For instance, many business leaders and managers do not seem much informed especially on matters relating to advertising and product promotion, and their overall effects in the future. Others do not understand the favorable balance between the two considering that there are not remarkably different. The existing sources of information especially relating to this topic are not clear as to which path is the right one (Gibson 2006).
The issue discussed in the above paragraph trickle to advertising firms and advertisement agencies that will have to provide help to the firm that need to advertise. The management of the advertising firm has to deliver help to their client, which is a challenging task. Ethics in this case has to apply, so that the advertising firm does not give options that may cause public disapproval of the brand.
Another problem that is encountered by managers in the advertising industry relates to how to deliver the message to the public. For instance, remarkably few rules exist that describe how the advertising agency or firm should put across the information in various media. These managers have to ensure that the information is passed to the final recipient as original, as well as, ethical as possible. Emphasis is laid on the message that gets to the consumer, and ensuring that the practice is done professionally. This is a delicate balance to attain as the advertising agency is put between the firm and the public. In is not easy to get something that is acceptable to these two unrelated groups (Tellis 2004).
For many years there has not been a favorable way of identifying what attract the public, and what appeals to it. Other players over emphasize some issues such as sex, thinking that it has a way of making the message being put across to be more attractive. Sex appeal can be appropriate in advertising some products, but not for all products. Misuse of this ends up distorting the whole message. This may also have unintended implications to non targeted groups, and hence undesirable. It is the work of advertising managers to set the best practice in order to achieve this (Tellis 2004).
In the advertising, firms or individuals pay a medium so that the information is transmitted to recipients, who in this case can be regarded to as potential buyers. The medium in this case is the advertising firm or advertising agency. The advertising firm is given the mandate to carry a product's name and present it to buyers, and do it in a way that will facilitate positive feedback among the buyers. This delivery of information has to be done in an ethical manner; adhering to the principles that are deemed by the clientele as morally acceptable. According to the 4As (American association of advertising agencies), products are readily accepted by the consumers if the advertizing agencies take into careful consideration the totality of human nature. Consumers will be more influenced if the means used for advertising are free of any indications of corruption, manipulation or deception than it would be if such indicated. The consumers in general are multi audience; they vary in race, age, status among other things. For this reason, the agencies have to draw a favorable balance while designing ads to make them appealing, as well as, acceptable to all these groups. More over, managers in the advertising industry have to ensure that no information falls on unintended years, especially while dealing with media that are not specific on the target audience. Brands will be readily accepted if they are advertised in a way that consumers approve of. The managers in advertising firms will have to combine the right mix of factors to best suit client’s needs (Snoeyenbos et al 2001)
It is necessary to consider that the revenues of the advertising firms are a cost to the firm that produces a brand. It is often a challenge for the advertizing agencies to find or design favorable product in terms of quality and cost, in order to produce services that are affordable. It has been seen that advertising involves cost. Information delivered to the public through other forms that are not paid, for example, news cannot be regarded as advertisement. The involvements of fund bring another perspective to it all together. Managers face challenges prioritizing the things to spend on. Firms have limited resources in terms of finances, and the amount available has to be utilized well for the prosperity of the firm (Fowles 1996). It is unethical for any advertisement agency to offer its services to any firm for free. On the other hand, an offer by such an agency to volunteer its services to any firm can be extremely enticing. This puts managers in a critical position to make such difficult choices, although it is not easy for an agency to do so because of the costs involved (Smith and Quelch 1992).
Apart from the challenges and the pitfalls, encountered by the managers in the advertizing industry, there are theories, concept, and code of practice that exist. These codes of practice have been brought forward by the various specialists and have been in application for a long time, during which, they have shown positive results upon careful application in various situations. Ethics in many societies changes easily over time. For instance, what used to be acceptable sometime ago may not be acceptable in the present time (Snoeyenbos et al 2001)
When talking about theories, and especially the ones relating to advertising ethics, many things can be considered. Many writers like taking of deontology as the first one. This theory has its origin from Germany. This theory focuses on the natural obligation of people to do what is morally right. According to this German wisdom, actions done to fit the classification of irreproachable morals are best when done out of goodwill. For advertising managers, they have to ensure that they make upright ads. Most importantly this will be best when done out of good will. A morally upright act can not yield much when it is only done to achieve obligations. Apart from advertising being an income generating activity for advertising firms, it should be done to benefit the whole society; it should be done out of good will (Fowles 1996).
Communitarianism can be viewed as the next theory, as seen in the discussion above, any action taken by the advertising firm, or anybody else should have the community in mind. People should stop viewing themselves as individuals but as a society. In the above, all the players in the advertisement industry should have the best interests of the public at heart when designing, as well as, executing any work of advertisement. It requires that anybody consider what is expedient for himself and also for the community. The shortcoming of this is the difficulty in determining what is acceptable to the majority in the society. For instance looking at billboard, it is certain that some people will like it, others will hate it, and still, some will not have any reaction towards it (Brenkert 2008).
Human beings always pursue the greater good, as much as it is not always attained, more over, greater good it is also hard to define it. Utilitarianism as a theory says that pursuit of the greater good should be the only concern in choosing any action or reaction. It also suggests that people should always consider majority rather than minority. In following this theory, the path with the maximum satisfaction or the minimum amount of twinge should be taken. This is the theory that should be applied most in advertising. Advertising agencies should not make ads that are offensive to the general public. For instance, advertising firms should find a favorable balance while making ads that are considered sensitive. For instance, for products that are considered potentially harmful such as alcohol, advertising agencies should consider making ads that could be misleading. This can be extremely crucial in making an advertising campaign a success.
The above theories can be applied at different situation. Each of the above theory will work best for a specific situation and provide a guideline on how to tackle it. The people in the advertising industry should get in depth information on how the society perceives things. The managers in this industry should remember that their ads reach may people and not targeted groups (Brenkert 2008).
For many years, many firms used to do their own advertising. Nowadays due to the skills and technicalities that have come, it is no longer applicable for many firms. These firms end up out sourcing for this service from advertising firms. It is a bit unfortunate that sometimes the public does not some times understand this. Any hitch in the advertisement of a brand may lead to reduced sales, and some times the firm that has made these products may be perceived negatively. There has been a public outcry for managers in the advertising industry to take more responsibility in their ads than they have been.