ETHICAL QUESTIONS AND PROMOTION ASSIGNMENT1 Ethical Questions and Promotion Assignment Cassidy Hyams School of Business, Liberty University BUSI 612-B01: Marketing Promotions Dr. George Young October 13,2023
ETHICAL QUESTIONS AND PROMOTION ASSIGNMENT2 RQ 1. How would you explain a negative externality (social costs) associated with the use of sexually suggestive material in advertising? Negative externalities is a concept in economics, that refers to the costs imposed on third parties who are not directly involved in a transaction or economic activity. In the context of advertising, negative externalities can have far-reaching implications, particularly when sexually suggestive content is used. Advertising not only serves to inform consumers about products, but it also plays a significant role in shaping societal norms and consumer perceptions. Sexually suggestive advertising often relies on the "objectification of individuals, typically women, and can lead to negative societal impacts such as the reinforcement of harmful stereotypes, the perpetuation of body image issues, and the normalization of objectification" (Tiggemann & Slater, 2004). Research has shown that repeated exposure to sexually suggestive advertising "can lead to acceptance of gender-role stereotyping, sexual harassment, and objectification" (Grau & Zotos, 2016). These advertisements often depict unrealistic body images, which can contribute to "body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among women and men" (Grabe et al., 2008). They also influence young people's perceptions of sexuality, often portraying it in "an unhealthy and unrealistic light" (Harrison & Frederickson, 2003). Furthermore, sexually suggestive advertising can be harmful to brands themselves. A meta-analysis by Wirtz, Sparks, and Zimbres (2018) found that such advertising can also lead to negative brand attitudes, particularly among women. This is especially relevant in an era where consumers are increasingly concerned with corporate social responsibility.
ETHICAL QUESTIONS AND PROMOTION ASSIGNMENT3 The use of sexually suggestive material in advertising provides a clear example of a negative externality. The costs of such advertising are borne by society at large, while the benefits (i.e. increased product sales, brand awareness) are accrued by the advertising company and potentially the consumer of the product. These negative externalities manifest in several ways. For instance, body dissatisfaction resulting from exposure to idealized body images can lead to mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders. These not only impact the quality of life of individuals but also impose additional costs on healthcare systems. Similarly, the normalization of objectification and sexual harassment can contribute to a culture that disrespects and devalues women, leading to societal problems like gender inequality. Addressing these negative externalities requires a multi-pronged approach. Companies can adopt ethical advertising standards that avoid sexually suggestive content and promote diversity and inclusivity. Governments can also play a role through regulation, and consumers can influence advertising content through their purchase decisions. Overall, the negative externalities associated with sexually suggestive advertising represent significant social costs. While such advertising may increase sales in the short term, the long-term societal impacts suggest a need for greater consideration of the ethical implications of advertising content. RQ2: Suppose an advertisement includes material that is considered a bit over the top (by most parents of young children) and it includes sexual innuendoes, scantly clothes men/women, etc. Many academics and companies are convinced that this type of content helps sell more products. What responsibility does the advertiser have for any effect on indirect targets, such as children?
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