The average person is exposed to around 5,000 advertisements a day… That is a LOT of information to process. And although we may not be consciously thinking about every single one of those ads, there are still in the back of our minds and we still process them subconsciously.
So Where’s the Danger?
Okay, so we know that there are many different types of advertisements exposed to us regularly, but how exactly is that dangerous? Today’s advertisements create a constant bombardment of information that pressure us to to buy unnecessary material things, tell us how we should look, and can influence us to develop unhealthy lifestyle habits. On a scale of 1 – 5, where 5 is the most dangerous and 1 is not dangerous at all, I would rate our current advertising model at a four. Now naturally, the purpose of an advertisement is to sell a product or service to a target audience. Successful ads are those that create a desire to purchase a product while at the same, reduce any uncertainty about that product. Unfortunately there are some companies that choose to go about this in an unethical manner. Whether it is an alcohol or e-cigarette company choosing to target an underage audience, or a clothing or beauty product company creating unrealistic views of body image, this has a negative influence on us at both on an individual and societal level over time. Especially with the rise of social media, advertisements have never been more easily viewed than today, and unfortunately today’s youth is exposed to a lot of those negative influences at a pretty early age. In addition, society has developed a mistrust against companies as it has come to light that some businesses have exploited people’s data and privacy for the purposes of advertising. However, all of that being said, there are ethical practices and ways to go about successful advertising. Below, I have provided some important ethical decision-making practices behind successful advertising.
Best Ethical Practices as a Digital Marketer
- Take a good look at the message you are sending out. You represent both yourself and your company – if you don’t feel like the message will act in the best interest of yourself, your company, and most importantly, society, consider changing or adjusting that message
- Be transparent with the message you are trying to convey. People will appreciate your message more, trust your company, and it will ultimately be more successful for your business
- Develop a set of moral standards and practices that can hold yourself and your business to. If your advertisements fail to meet those standards, then re-adjust the ad until you do meet them
- Ensure that the information in your advertisements is accurate and justifiable
- Respect others’ privacy and data when creating an advertisement
- Work with the leaders in your company to ensure you are following laws and standards involving advertising and media
- Look at your actions as a marketer in the long-term
- Keep yourself aware and informed of changing laws and standards in the advertising world
- Jumpsix. “Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing.” JumpSIX Marketing, 29 July 2019, jumpsixmarketing.com/ethical-digital-marketing-part-1-issues/.
- Steimer, Sarah, and Ama. “The Murky Ethics of Data Gathering in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World.” American Marketing Association, 5 Jan. 2018, www.ama.org/marketing-news/the-murky-ethics-of-data-gathering-in-a-post-cambridge-analytica-world/.
- Suggett, Paul. “Some Say Advertising Does More Harm Than Good. Does It?” The Balance Careers, The Balance Careers, 25 June 2019, www.thebalancecareers.com/is-advertising-harmful-to-society-38971.