Friday, September 7, 2012

Should advertising be restricted in any way?

Advertising is a medium to reach its potential customers for any business organization. Advertising is important for both newly launched product as well as the reputed brand. The former needs to expand its reach and grow its market share and the latter needs to preserve its brand image. Because of its huge importance, advertising can be rightly called a backbone of a business. However, in this toughly competitive world, will all the business advertise their products and services ethically?

The business enterprises are profit- maximizing organisations and they can go to any extent to increase their profit. Many businesses make false claims through advertisements to get the attention of their would-be customers. Such claims can include various forms including promising the quality that is not present in the product, exaggerating the utility of a substance to tap upon the emotions of the customers and so on. Most of the advertisements are designed to appeal the emotions of people and if thought logically, they are blatantly fallacious. So, it is obvious that the advertising should be well regulated or censored by the government. Only the fair advertisements should be allowed to appear in the media.

Similarly, the advertisements may make the valid claims but might be advertising a harmful product such as a cigarette, liquor or a drug. If the advertisements would have been allowed we would have perhaps heard the advertisements like, “Marlboro Cigarette, packed up with 20 mg Nicotine, the highest in the industry!” or something like that based upon whether people prefer higher amount of nicotine or lower. Although consumers are called rational in economics, they are barely so in real life. They can easily be brainwashed through effective advertising and get easily influenced by peer pressure, group feeling, and other emotional triggers. Thus, it is necessary for the government to dictate that harmful products should not be encouraged through advertisement. Otherwise, the things like law and order, peace and harmony, etcetera would vanish from human civilization.

However, advertising is crucial as it is the process of informing the customers about the features, quality, and utility of a certain product. Similarly, it is through the advertisements that the customers get to know more about the product including its advantages over other similar products. Therefore, advertisement is good for consumers because they get more options to choose a product from. Such ethical advertisements should be allowed.

Moreover, the competition in advertising sometimes forces companies to offer better products, with improved quality and features, to make their product distinct from others and get customers attention. This ultimately promotes the wellbeing of consumers as the companies go on to compete with their rivals by continuously improving their product and making it better than others. So, ethical advertisements in competitive business environment should be encouraged.

In conclusion, if we could expect all the business organizations to act ethically, there would not be any need to restrict the advertisement. However, the real world is more complex with the people of different attitudes and therefore, we cannot be sure whether all of them will act ethically. Therefore, all the advertisements should be censored before broadcasting them in the media. The fair advertisements which promote the wellbeing of consumers should be encouraged whereas false and misleading advertisements should be banned.