Voice/Tone of the ad
Comparative ads that thrive on inflicting vitriolic attacks on their rivals; copying the idea in the ad world is another such menace. Impediments to Research The impediments to research on advertising ethics are identified as follows:
Lack of Practitioner Interest
Research is impeded by the inapplicability of published findings to business operations, the disinterest of corporations in sponsoring research on ad ethics and the funding constraints that cause researchers to rely on a convenience sample.
Lack of Sound Measures and Framework
Research is impeded by the lack of psychometrically sound measurement scales and theoretical frameworks in advertising/ marketing.
Lack of Relevant Theories in Related Disciplines
Research is impeded by theoretical shortcomings in anthropology, management, philosophy, psychology, sociology and advertising/ marketing.
Lack of Academic Interest
Research is impeded by lack of a journal editor and the difficulty researchers face when they try to relate ethical issues to traditional advertising issues.
Why be Ethical
At the 83rd Annual Management Conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Keith Reinhard, the 64- year-old chairman and the chief executive of the US $15-billion DDB Worldwide Communications Group, stood up to quote the legendary co-founder of DDB, Bill Bernbach: “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of the society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.” No. Reinhad is not against the edgy and the unconventional. He is against prurient sex. Filthy humor. And Violence.
By making a success story out of the ads that are offensive to public decency, the message is disturbingly clear: the more rude and shocking you can be the more successful you will be in the advertising. And, moreover, such ads send out faulty signal to the youngsters who represent the future of our society. The young creative directors who take pride in their eccentric thought process ought to be blamed for this. And the ad awards machineries from Cannes to Clios that place such creations on the pedestal. Passion is, surely, the most important ingredient in creative achievement. But its flame need not necessarily leap for obscenity, bullets and falsehoods alone. It is essential to reinforce the virtue of positive passion in today’s ad world.
The need to add ethics in advertising is essential as we have a duty to live a good moral life. This duty is as much applicable to our business lives as to our private lives. And marketing professionals also know that ethics brings good business. Unethical ads are often found to have negative consequences, ranging from adverse publicity to diminished corporate reputation, to consumer boycotts and even legal sanctions. Conversely, an ethical ad can contribute to a good corporate reputation, heighten morale and, thus, increase repeat business.