40 Hours of Television

The class is over, but the discussion continues. Does the media shape reality, or does reality shape the media? Art can imitate life...and life can imitate art. "40 Hours of TV" will explore the media and its impact on us all.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Ethics of Advertising

Is it unethical for a company to target its advertising of a harmful, but legal, product to specific ethnic groups?

This is an issue the tobacco industry has grappled with, particularly with advertising campaigns aimed at African-American consumers.

So, what's the problem? Advertisers seek out many different demographics to target advertising at. One can argue the health risks of smoking, but since cigarettes are legal...how come a company couldn't market its problem with a particular demographic in mind? Any thoughts?


Blogger volterwd said...

The marketing to a group is irrelivant why is advertising cigarettes to black less ethical than to whites?... and something being legal doesnt mean its ethical.

10:43 PM  
Blogger ParaTed2k said...

I think it is scapegoating at its worst to blame advertising for one's own bad decisions.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Emperor Joe said...

Well with smoking its one of those things where yes we know its bad for us. We figured that out over time. At one time we didn't think it was bad for us. so now we are trying to get rid of smoking. But there are other products that are bad for us as well. Hell if you know the risks and you still want to go for it. as far as targeting a group, yeah thats sort of shity since you know its bad for you. But then again does race really matter since we are all humans? Ah hell if you want to smoke and you know what it does smoke. who cares.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Scott C. Smith said...

After posting this I got to thinking about another industry, the "payday loan" and "title loan" industry, and how those services are advertised with the poor and minorities in mind. And to touch on the subject of ethics...these loans are not regulated in many states, so interest rates are really high in some cases. Is there a difference in targeting advertising at a group that you are going to take advantage of? Just curious.

5:19 PM  
Blogger ParaTed2k said...

Payday loans are no different. They make no secret that letting the "loan" carry over into the next month will cost you 500%. There isn't even any sneakiness in the way the business is run.

They aren't "taking advantage" of anyone, they are merely offering a service at an over-inflated price... one that is well understood by the sucker before they agree to be sucked in.

8:29 PM  

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