Ethics in the Digital Media Age

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Ethics and morality continue to be important issues within today’s society, especially in advertising and promotions. As marketers, it is important to consider the power and responsibility associated with advertising, and contemplate how certain ads will be perceived by the public. Companies that do not place high value on ethical conduct tend to be criticized and suffer when it comes to sales and reputation.

There are several principles that should be understood by advertisers as they plan their campaigns. For example, companies should always be honest and have the public’s best interests at heart. All information involved with a product should be disclosed, such as payment, endorsements, etc. Products sold should not be harmful and should follow federal, state and local laws. Customer privacy should not be violated at any point and their decision to provide or not provide certain information should be clear and respected. Overall, companies should be morally responsible and ethical dilemmas should be discussed privately.

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There is much criticism of the nature of marketing as it is. For example, many people do not trust ads, believing that that are simply exaggerations to sell a product. People also criticize advertising for being offensive and distasteful. Commercials can be invasive, boring and inappropriate, especially when they involve contraceptives or personal care items. This category includes sexual appeals and shock advertising which often causes trouble for a brand. This is concerning because many people also show concern about how advertisements influence our nation, especially when it comes to normalizing something that society has deemed inappropriate. Advertisements are also known to increase materialism and encourage people to buy things they don’t need, and they often show poor representation of minority groups. Marketers must take all of this into consideration as they decide how to promote products/services because there is great power behind media advertising and it should be used wisely and ethically.

Although a company should not be completely motivated by profits, acting ethically is the best option for all businesses in the long run because society values morality. Companies that aren’t honest or ethical can receive negative feedback which damages the whole brand and it is often hard to recover. By doing the right thing, companies are able to develop a positive relationship with the public which is extremely important. Good reputation and customer satisfaction are key factors in a successful business because happy clients are more likely to be brand loyal and recommend the company to friends and loved ones, which is one of the strongest forms of marketing.