How many advertisements have you seen in your life? The average person sees between 280 and 310 advertisements per day. Advertisements are a great way to make people aware of products, issues, and more. But has advertising become a problem for society? Everyone has seen those ads where advertisers try to convince the consumer that a product will make your life five times better and their life won’t be better until they buy the product. The advertiser’s intentions are to try to get into your mind and influence your thoughts and decisions. Advertisements like the car, insurance, medicine, beverage, and political commercials often try to influence the consumer. Advertising is harmful to society because of its strong influence.
If let me rate the current online advertising risks, I would probably give 3 points. They have already posed a threat to our society, but they are not irreparable.
So what exactly are the main negative effects of advertising on society?
Let’s find out…
Advertising makes us feel that we’re not good enough as we are.
We have an economic system in which people have to make money in order to survive, no matter how manipulative techniques they use to achieve that — and this can be clearly seen in the advertising industry.
To sell your stuff, advertisements first make you feel like crap. How do they achieve this? By showing you what the ideal life is supposed to be, and then making you compare your ordinary life to it. This way they slowly lead you to believe that you’re not beautiful, intelligent, confident, and so on, until they fully convince you that you basically suck. The reason? To make you feel insecure so that they can then emotionally manipulate you.
Advertising makes us think that everything we need is for sale.
Another serious ill effect of advertising is that it feeds us with the wrong impression that everything we need can be bought, and hence that money should be our measure of success and prime goal in life.
Without shopping, advertisements tell you that you can’t find contentment. Thus, advertisements are fueling your desire to work like a slave, just so you can spend your hard-earned money on things that will ultimately leave you disappointed and dissatisfied.
Advertising makes us associate happiness with consumerism.
After they’ve achieved to ruin our self-esteem, advertisements are trying to fool us into thinking that only products and services can make us feel better. In other words, advertisements create a problem and then offer us a solution to it. What is it? You guessed right: Shopping.
Once they achieve to make you feel ugly, they sell you beauty products so you can improve on your ugliness. Once they manage to make you believe that you are not important, they sell you expensive clothes so you can attract the attention of others. And so on and so forth.
In short, advertisements promise you happiness, provided that you spend money in return. The result? Consuming stuff you don’t even need and supporting the production of unnecessary waste that is polluting our planet.
I have listed a few ethics for digital marketers：
1. Never Compromise On Privacy
Privacy is a very sensitive domain as it is the top concern of the internet generation. If you are doing some marketing via social media, make sure you do not violate privacy rules. Some companies extract Facebook and LinkedIn data to build their email campaigns. This is a cutting-edge sword and requires attention to core concerns. Just a promise of not spamming might not be enough, you need to give unsubscribe option with every message you deliver.
2. Speak Truth
If you have some interest or affiliation in something being discussed, you need to politely communicate your affiliation. It does not require that you explain your interests but tell as to why are you supporting a particular thing. Another important element here is to be true to yourself as well as the audience.
3. Commit To Sustainability And Human Rights
Ethical consumerism is becoming a bigger priority for many customers. People want to feel assured that what they are purchasing is sustainable and ethically produced. Be honest about your ingredients, product components, and your supply chain.
4. Respond Meaningfully To Consumer Concerns
If customers have safety concerns about a product or service, then this should be seen as a company’s top priority. Always seek to protect consumer rights and immediately investigate any complaint.
5. Don’t Exploit Emotions
Getting an emotional reaction from consumers is one of the most effective ways to generate interest. However, if you evoke negative emotions such as rage, fear, sadness in a tasteless way, this could be seen as exploitative. Customers want their emotions to be sympathized with, not manipulated.
6. Use the Word “Sponsored”
This is a quick and easy way to ensure your digital media is always covered. Using the word “sponsored” on all your digital campaigns and other media will alert your audiences it is a sponsored post from your brand.
7. Open the Lines of Communication
When using digital media, it is best to maintain an open-door policy and communicate with your audiences on a consistent basis. This not only helps build brand integrity but can help in the event of a mishap. When audiences trust you, it is easier for them to forgive a mistake, rather than having disgruntled customers that make things worse by sharing their experiences on social media.
8. Don’t Exaggerate
When you exaggerate the benefits of a product or service, you are making a false claim. You are promising a customer a level of quality that cannot be delivered.
10 Principles Of Ethical Marketing. (2019, February 28). Retrieved from https://www.figarodigital.co.uk/article/10-principles-of-ethical-marketing/.Akbar, T. A. T., & Israyelle. (n.d.). 7 Fundamental Ethics of Social Media Marketing. Retrieved from https://www.business2community.com/social-media/7-fundamental-ethics-social-media-marketing-01571504.ProfileTree. (2019, August 30). Ethics and Legalities of Digital Marketing. Retrieved from https://www.profiletree.com/ethics-and-legalities-of-digital-marketing/.