Analysis of "The Inconclusive Ethical Case Against Manipulative Advertising"

652 WordsApr 10, 20133 Pages
Analysis of “The Inconclusive Ethical Case Against Manipulative Advertising" by Michael J. Phillips The politics and ethics of advertising can be extremely tricky. The lines between manipulative advertising are often very blurred, and many argue that anything but advertising that is purely informative is manipulative. However, the greatest area of contention in the field is whether or not manipulative advertising is unethical. Some say that manipulative advertising is not only entirely ethical, but also necessary. Essentially all advertising as we now know it is emotionally manipulative, but whether this is harmful or not is highly questionable. For the sake of analysis, that advertising creates a market, new needs, and generally encourages consumerism will be assumed to be true. These facts on their own could be debated until the end of time, but to focus only on analyzing the ethics of manipulative advertising, some assumptions must be made. If this is true, then it is also true that advertising and production are necessary for prosperity. If advertising has a direct effect on consumerism and production, then advertising is essentially creating jobs and markets and helping people make a living. If true, this is a strong counterargument to the objection that the billions of dollars spent on advertising every year are not wasted, but in fact invested in society. This makes advertising necessary for job creation and supporting a growing economy. However, it is difficult to measure the influence advertising has on the public. Whether or not advertising conditions people into being lifetime consumers is highly debatable because there are many other factors involved. In addition, a consumer may not even buy the particular product or brand advertised. If it is in fact true that advertising affects individual purchases, then it is

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