Advertising Ethics


advertising, in general, any openly sponsored offering of goods, services, or ideas through any medium of public communication. At its inception advertising was merely an announcement; for example, entrepreneurs in ancient Egypt used criers to announce ship and cargo arrivals. The invention of printing, however, may be said to have ushered in modern advertising. After the influence of salesmanship began to insert itself into public notice in the 18th cent., the present elaborate form of advertising began to evolve. The advertising agency, working on a commission basis, has been chiefly responsible for this evolution. The largest group of advertisers are the food marketers, followed by marketers of drugs and cosmetics, soaps, automobiles, tobacco, appliances, and oil products. The major U.S. advertising media are newspapers, magazines, television and radio, business publications, billboards, and circulars sent through the mail. With the advent of the wide availability of electronic mail and access to the World Wide Web in the 1990s, the Internet has also become an important advertising venue. Since many large advertising agencies were once located on Madison Avenue in New York City, the term "Madison Avenue" is frequently used to symbolize the advertising business. The major criticisms of advertising are that it creates false values and impels people to buy things they neither need nor want and that, in fact, may be actually harmful (such as cigarettes). In reply, its defenders say that advertising is meant to sell products, not create values; that it can create a new market for products that fill a genuine, though latent, need; and that it furthers product improvement through free competition. The Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, both founded in 1917, are the major associations.

See M. Mayer, Madison Avenue, U.S.A. (1958); R. Glatzer, The New Advertising (1970); R. Hovland and G. Wilcox, ed., Advertising in Society (1988); W. Wells et al., Advertising: Principles & Practice (4th ed. 1998); J. B. Twitchell, Adcult, USA (1995) and 20 Ads That Shook the World: The Century's Most Groundbreaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century
Richard M. Perloff.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Advertising Ethics" begins on p. 299
Integrated Marketing Communications: A Primer
Philip J. Kitchen; Patrick De Pelsmacker.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Advertising Ethics and Social Responsibility" begins on p. 38
Mass Communication Law and Ethics
Roy L. Moore.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Advertising Ethics and Other Professional Considerations" begins on p. 240
The Moral Media: How Journalists Reason about Ethics
Lee Wilkins; Renita Coleman.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Advertising Practitioners Respond: The News Is Not Good"
Social Marketing: Perspectives and Viewpoints
William Lazer; Eugene J. Kelley.
Richard D. Irwin, 1973
Librarian’s tip: "Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Marketing" begins on p. 173
Deceptive and Subliminal Advertising in Corporate America: Value Adder or Value Destroyer?
Mujtaba, Bahaudin; Jue, Arthur L.
Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 2005
Consuming Children: Education, Entertainment, Advertising
Jane Kenway; Elizabeth Bullen.
Open University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Seducing Schools" begins on p. 102
Political Communication Ethics: An Oxymoron?
Robert E. Denton Jr.
Praeger, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Ethics and Political Advertising"
Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising
Lynda Lee Kaid; Anne Johnston.
Praeger Publishers, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Videostyle and Ethics in Televised Political Advertising"
Ethics in Advertising: Sex Sells, but Should It?
Blair, Jessica Dawn; Stephenson, Jason Duane; Hill, Kathy L.; Green, John S.
Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1/2, January 1, 2006
Psychology for Sale: The Ethics of Advertising Professional Services
Shead, N. Will; Dobson, Keith S.
Canadian Psychology, Vol. 45, No. 2, May 2004
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