Limitations of Advertising

1957 Words Mar 20th, 2012 8 Pages
Limitations of Advertising

Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma

July 21, 2010

Limitations of Advertising: Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma

Marketing practices in the contemporary western society have been a hotbed of ethical debate for a long time. The ethical analysis required for this case revolves around the issue of marketing, and more specifically relates to advertising. The overall ethical dilemma is whether or not I should, in the role of a senior marketing manager of a soft drink company, approve a sexually suggestive advertising campaign for non-alcoholic beer targeted to a teenage consumer market. As with other ethical dilemmas, there is no obvious correct solution to this predicament. However, in my opinion, I would
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In terms of this proposed ad in this case, it can be argued that the theory would likely support a decision of approving the ad as the manipulative advertising in this case generates more utility than a purely informative advertising. A prominent economist, Theodore Levitt, argues that consumers demand more than pure operating functionality from the products they buy, meaning they demand an expanded functionality which includes helping solve problems of life (Tittle, 101). In this case then, it can be argued that if Levitt’s idea holds true, then the teenage consumers of the beverage would want the drink to solve issues of life like sex appeal and peer acceptance, which in turn would serve to maximize the utility for the majority of the consumers of the product. Counteractively, it can also be potentially argued that the long term harm of promoting the beverage with an ad of this nature could be that teenagers would be encourage to hold “beer parties”, albeit with non-alcoholic beverage, which could lead to a preference of switching to alcoholic drinks once the teens grow up. Processes that create and feed such desires are not utility maximizing (Tittle, 103) since in the long run it would end up harming the consumers. However, I feel that this latter argument is not strong enough to suggest that utilitarianism would point to a rejection of this ad since the long term harm probably will

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