Ugochukwu Ugwoke Written by Ugochukwu Ugwoke · 1 min read >

In this our first blog post for this week, I would like to share with you some thoughts about advertising and its ethics. The insight to be shared here is got from my study of the course, Business Ethics.

In the first place, advertisement is a notice or announcement in a public space promoting a product or services. It is one of the marketing strategies that firms and organizations use to communicate, promote and create awareness about their brands, services, ideas or products. This can be done through various traditional media such as television, commercial radio advertisement, outdoor advertising, newspaper, magazine mail or modern media such as blogs, websites and text messages.

To regulate advertisements and ensure ethics in advertising, advertising has some guidelines and principles that must be followed. For instance, in order to protect the interests of consumers, every state or country has a body that is charged with the responsibility of regulating and guiding the contents and means of carrying out advertisements to ensure that what is advertised to the public follows the rules of ethics. In Nigeria, this body is known as the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

Ethical advertising is built on the values and principles of truth, justice, fairness and equity. The principle of truth for instance states that advertising shall tell the truth, and shall reveal significant facts about a product, the omission of which would mislead the public. In other words, an advertisement should be truthful and should not deliberately deceive, distort the truth, or withhold relevant facts to the targeted consumers. Any advertisement therefore that does not follow the above-mentioned principles and guidelines is considered to be unethical. Unethical advertising is bad both for the company or organization and for the public. It affects how their customers view them, and can also make or mar their corporate reputation by giving them a positive or negative brand image as the case may be.

There are many forms of unethical advertising but for the purpose of this write-up, we will limit ourselves to these three types of unethical advertising- misleading advertising, deceptive advertising and manipulative advertising. These three forms of unethical advertising are closely related. They entail the use of deceptive ways by a company to manipulate, mislead or convince the consumer to buy their products or services. Many companies and business owners in Nigeria are actually guilty of some of these forms of unethical advertising.  We are all depending on APCON to do their job and to protect the general public from being misled, manipulated or deceived through unethical advertisements by different companies and organizations.

As heads and managers of organizations and owners of businesses, we should bear in mind that ethics is a crucial part of a business and an organization. Everything we do in our business and organization therefore should respect the rules of ethics. Good ethics is good business in the long run. Advertisements are regulated to protect not just the interest of the targeted consumers but also the corporate image of a company or organization.



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