Advertising Ethics in Advertising Ethics Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

" (Snyder, 2008, p.8/9) in other words, Snyder is appealing for better ethical standards not only because this would be the right thing to do but also because it makes good economic and marketing sense. The following advertising example is a case in point.

In another article Snyder refers to an advertisement which goes beyond good taste and decency. This refers to a multimedia campaign for Belvedere Vodka which is in competition with the Grey Goose vodka brand ands its market. As Snyder remarks: "The brand is donning fishnets, getting spanked in public and otherwise behaving lewdly in an attempt to stand out in the increasingly crowded luxury vodka category." (Snyder, "Attention, but at What Cost? 2008)

Figure 1. A Belvedere Vodka ad depicting a woman applying her lipstick in the mirrored belt buckles of some man.


Therefore the advertiser is using lewd and tasteless images and action to promote its product. What the advertiser fails to address is the fact that they guilty of advertising that is in poor taste and this, as Snyder remarks, is not only bad for the industry but also will lose them a section of the advertising market. Snyder notes that, "the client and agency should proactively consider the ethical consequences of advertising that could be considered offensive by the brands customers." (Snyder, "Attention, but at What Cost? 2008) With regard to the advertisements in question Snyder has the following to say" did they consider the ethical consequences of a campaign that may offend woman vodka drinkers? Women constitute 49% of the luxury vodka market1. Clearly they were aware of the negative implications." (Snyder, "Attention, but at What Cost? 2008) Furthermore, the online promotion site for the campaign on is to use a bottle as a sexual prop. Snyder concludes: "I believe that women searching for an upscale vodka would be more attracted to a brand connecting to them through ethical advertising." (Snyder, "Attention, but at What Cost? 2008 ) in essence this refers to the practical advantages of advertising that is ethically appreciative of the client market

Many other examples of this type of advertising can be given. The following is a description of an ad for Dolce & Gabbana that appeared in Esquire magazine:

A woman, fully clothed in a tight dress and spiked heels, lies on her back, hips raised as a bare-chested man holds her down and four other men look on. The menace in the situation is underscored by the fact the woman is blankly unsmiling and some of the men appear to have slight sneers on their faces. (Snyder, 2007)

This ad raised the ire of many women's groups who described it as a "Stylized gang rape." (Snyder, 2007)

4. Summation and conclusion

The point that Snyder is making is that tasteless and indecent ads offend the buying public and are therefore are not good for brand building. Ads of this nature also increase the low public opinion of the advertising industry. In a larger sense these types of advertisements and images tend to lower the value of the industry as a whole. It therefore does not make sense both economically and ethically to promote advertising that contravenes a certain standard of decency and taste.

To this end Snyder suggests that advertisers and agencies should discus and develop their sensitivity to the ethical consequences of their advertising. He also suggests that this should take place within the industry and should not be regulated by an outside body. This is an important as the industry itself should be responsible for its ethical standards.

I am therefore in full argument with the assessment .that Snyder makes regarding taste and decency in the advertising industry. It is not only good business practice and will help to engender better relationships with the consumer, but it is also an important part of the need of this powerful industry to meet its ethical and socials responsibilities.


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Sen, Amartya, 1987, on Ethics and Economics, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.

Snyder, W. 2007, Advertising Ethics: An Introduction, viewed 31 October, 2009,

Snyder, W. 2008, Attention, but at What Cost? viewed 31 October, 2009,


Snyder W. 2008, the Ethical Consequences of Your Advertisement Matter. Journal…

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