Marketing Lies: Right or Wrong ?

by King23 on February 10, 2017 - 1:14pm

Marketing is a great way of promoting and influencing trends, products and convincing buyers to buy. A specific issue can raise concern on how more and more campaigns are miss leading because of the use of  “white lies” to increase consumer spending. Some famous companies such as Fit Tea, Protein world and many more,  encourage weight loss and promote their products as perfects tools to achieve this goal. Many marketing methods of persuasion used can be easily manipulated to trick the consumer. For example, “before and after” pictures or consumer reviews can be tampered with, and altered to convey an image that attracts potential consumers to become real customers. Conflicts between unsatisfied consumers and companies are more common nowadays. 

A big dilemma sets itself between two approaches: Lying to customers to increase profit, or promote truthfully to garantie customer loyalty. This sets the approches in a similar teleological point of view categorized in a doctrine called Utilitarianism. According the Cambridge online dictionary, utilitarianism is “the system of thought that states that the best action or decision in a particular situation is the one that brings most advantages to the most people.” The first approach, gives companies the right to lie and convey a specific images to attract consumers. According to utilitarianism, this approach is right since the company will make a lot of profit, thus paying well all workers and maybe creating new jobs by expanding the company. This approach puts in favour all members of the company thus making it the right approach. Another approach can put consumers in a more favorable position. In fact, if companies promote truthful advertisements, they can almost guarantee customer satisfaction and consumer loyalty. In the long run, they can affectively bring advantages to the consumers. It is very hard to determine what is right and what is not.

According to Merrill, to determine a faire solution is to “bring the greatest happiness (or pleasure) to the greatest number” (Merrill, 16). In other words, because consumers are unlimited and outgrow the members of the company, the right approach is to satisfy and follow customer’s demands. This means that companies must think about the customer’s needs and happiness instead of making profits. This will imply creating a smart and truthful advertisements in order to promote a right customer relationship approach. 

 

Work cited :

 

Merrill, John C. "Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics." PDF. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

 

 

"Utilitarianism Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary." Utilitarianism Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Comments

Awesome post! I found your point about utilitarianism to be extremely interesting. I especially liked how you contrast it from both the point of view of the companies as well as the consumers. Since utilitarianism is mostly about having an outcome of benefiting a majority, it is obvious that companies don’t really have the consumers in mind when selling their products. What really stuck out to me in you post is when you say that companies "lie and convey a specific image to attract consumers”. You are right, the manipulation of consumers through different marketing tactics is extremely real. However, I want to bring to light that these marketing strategies go far beyond telling “white lies” and instead give into the dangerous social constructs that society has in place. Since the beginning of time, our society has built these rigid social constructs by which we live by, the biggest one being gender. Many companies are well aware of these gender norms and rather than challenge them, use them to their advantage in order to sell their product. These advertisements are usually meant to appeal to the patriarchal world view: the idea that women are inferior to men. Examples of such advertisements include the sexualization of women as well as the promotion of impossible beauty standards. You give an excellent example of Fit Tea in your post, saying that they trick people into thinking that it is the best way to lose weight. This fact is very true, however, Fit Tea’s real moneymaking marketing tactic is appealing to the impossible beauty standard for women to be extremely thin. As someone who has seen their website before, they advertise photo shopped women who have the “perfect body” in order to get people to buy their product. This is where the true manipulation lies. Here is an excellent article tht furthur proves my point: https://www.thebalance.com/advertising-women-and-objectification-38754. I also recommend that you read “Selling Sex” by Lisa Wade. It is extremely well written and demonstrates all the different techniques in which marketing negatively influence both men and women.

Once again though, great post!

Wade, Lisa. Sharp, Gwen. “Selling Sex.” Gendered World View: 345-102-MQ, Marianopolis College, 22 March 2017. Class Handout.

Your article was interesting and eye opening. It made me wonder about the importance of lying to sell a product. Your analysis on the differing utilitarian viewpoints of marketing campaigns and consumers interested me and shed light to a new side of marketing I have not clearly thought about.
I believe that the lies portrayed in advertisements do not only apply to “fake vs. real” or “before vs. after” products. Through a gendered lens, an additional problem with marketing is the dependence on traditional gender roles to advertise products in order to obtain more consumer attention. This culturally sanctioned ideal of gender stereotypes in itself is a lie in which consumers are exposed to constantly and unwillingly. Consequently, this constant exposure and reinforcement of sexist behaviors and a patriarchal ideal in advertisement eventually becomes part of society’s problematic mentality. A mentality where ideals of a fake masculine and female behavior are portrayed instead of what it truly is, the truth.
Although a product might sell well, the constant sexist, heterosexual exposure to consumers is harming society’s mentality. Utilitarianism states that it is a system where it “brings the most advantage to people”. In the situation of advertisement, I believe advertising the truth of society, which encompasses more than only heterosexual, white, skinny models, is more fitting for the utilitarian doctrine, than deciding whom should be lied to.

Your article was well thought out I had fun reading it!
Here is a link showing the ways advertising display ideal types of masculinity and femininity performance.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-lantagne/gender-roles-media_b_5326...

This article has really put into perspective the use of and reasons behind the sneaky tactics of today’s marketing world!

I can certainly agree on your statements of how the marketing industry puts in place “white lies” to manipulate customers into buying their products. I also agree that endorsing advertisements that reflect the clear reality of society is much more beneficial for the customers and can ensure their satisfaction. Your introduction to both sides of the approach (the positive and negative views of marketing/advertising) is extremely clever, insightful and well explored.

However, there is one statement in particular in your argument that I view differently.

It is true that companies must take into account the desires of the consumers and making sure they are satisfied instead of fulfilling their own wish to make profits. That being said, it is that same desire and need for satisfaction that can influence and entice the marketing and advertising industries to create more lies to essentially ‘give the people what they want’. This can affect our understandings of the truth and enforce standards in our society that are harmful. From a gendered stance, women are falsely represented in many advertisements shown around the globe. They are objectified and inappropriately highly sexualized to appease society’s pleasures. These ads are giving people what they want from the image being displayed, not the product being sold. With these constant images of violence and objectification shown to consumers from these ads, a concept known as rape culture comes into play. Rape culture is the trivializing act of rape by the objectification of women, or by the praise of sexual violence against them. By these advertisements, this concept undoubtedly begins to be normalized amongst those viewing them, turning an act once dismayed to a now common one. To tie this all together, I can go back to what you were mentioning in that it is best to showcase products in their natural environment without the use of traumatizing, devious and manipulative tactics in order to showcase the real truth behind products, not to introduce more lies.

If you are interested in learning more about how rape culture is endorsed in advertisements, check out this link below:
https://medium.com/digital-workshop/how-advertising-promotes-rape-cultur...

Your article was well written and both sides of this marketing dilemma was thoroughly presented. I enjoyed reading it and it definitely gave me something to think about. I think placing a gendered lens over this issue reveals a much greater moral dilemma to our media driven society.

These companies don’t only advertise weight loss. By using male and female models, not to mention photoshop, they promote very unrealistic body expectations for both men and women. This can be very dangerous as young men and women can take drastic measures that they think can help them look like these sponsored athletes. Companies such as you stated, Fit Tea, Protein World, Optimum Nutrition and others, promote hegemonic masculinity for men and make many women feel extremely insecure about themselves. These ads tell men that they have achieve a certain physical appearance that is really unrealistic. Same thing goes for women. Publicities, like the ones you mentioned, promote a extremely unrealistic representation of beauty for women. This can also lead to many physical and mental consequences in young men and women. Modern advertising and the manner in which it portrays the ideal beauty standards for men and women is a huge issue in our time and day.

Thank you for bringing up both perspectives arguing about this major issue in modern marketing.
Heres a cool link talking about body image issues in modern advertising : http://mediasmarts.ca/body-image/body-image-advertising-and-magazines

I find that the article you wrote is a good and relevant representation of the actual “marketing lies” situation in our society. In addition, the mention of utilitarianism was really interesting and made me evaluate the current problem through a different perspective. However, even though lying to the potential customer could increase profits, these lies and marketing techniques can, and most of them do, influence the consumers to feel or to put more pressure on themselves. This pressure initially results from the ridiculous and unrealistic representation of the ideal woman or man’s body. Furthermore, when marketers use the meticulous tool of lying on their products that relate to the human physical appearance, it only puts more pressure on men and women’s shoulders concerning their physical image. By lying and incorporating false conclusions on their product’s effects, the marketers sends a reminder to this normal man or this normal woman that their physical appearance isn’t ideal and it needs to change. Moreover, the lies implemented on advertisements are really influential for men that relate to the “man box”. Any man that believes in the “man box” and that finds himself lacking of a branch in this “man box” would do anything to solve this issue, even if takes money in the process. The same ideology can be applied for women, caused by their exposition to the unrealistic physical appearance of the “ideal women”.

Here is the link to an article on the impact of marketing on women and men in the United States, which will help you to further understand the situation: http://wkhpe-co-app6.wkhpe.com/files/TheDevelopmentofIdealBodyImagePerce...

It’s a great post about marketing. The author used critical thinking to see the advantages and disadvantages about marketing and advertising industry. I can’t agree more with the idea that marketing is a great way of promoting and influencing trends. Just like the post mentions, some companies are encouraging weight loss to promote their products. There are also many companies make advertisements with women with flawless skin, skinny waist, big breasts to give customers a standard idea of beauty in order to sell their products. Customers can be seriously influenced by these ideas presented in ads, and they try to follow the “trend” which can cause them problem like eating disorder and depression, etc. Moreover, there are a large number of ads presenting languages and images that promote “rape culture” which normalize the action of raping. These sexual ads give ideas to individuals that violence toward women is acceptable, and rape is a cool action. Due to these ideas presented by advertisements, when rape happens, people tend to pity the raper but blame on victims (which is what “rape culture” means). As you can see, problems do exist in marketing and advertising industry, and as marketing and advertisements are significant in influencing and promoting trends, to make our society more female friendly, I do think that there should be some changes in marketing and advertising industry.

There is a reference link about “rape culture”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

Work cited:

Cortese, Anthony. "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising."Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008):57-89. Rpt in 345-102-MQ: Gendered World Views. Montreal:Eastman,2016,3-19.Print.

It’s a great post about marketing. The author used critical thinking to see the advantages and disadvantages about marketing and advertising industry. I can’t agree more with the idea that marketing is a great way of promoting and influencing trends. Just like the post mentions, some companies are encouraging weight loss to promote their products. There are also many companies make advertisements with women with flawless skin, skinny waist, big breasts to give customers a standard idea of beauty in order to sell their products. Customers can be seriously influenced by these ideas presented in ads, and they try to follow the “trend” which can cause them problem like eating disorder and depression, etc. Moreover, there are a large number of ads presenting languages and images that promote “rape culture” which normalize the action of raping. These sexual ads give ideas to individuals that violence toward women is acceptable, and rape is a cool action. Due to these ideas presented by advertisements, when rape happens, people tend to pity the raper but blame on victims (which is what “rape culture” means). As you can see, problems do exist in marketing and advertising industry, and as marketing and advertisements are significant in influencing and promoting trends, to make our society more female friendly, I do think that there should be some changes in marketing and advertising industry.

There is a reference link about “rape culture”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

Work cited:

Cortese, Anthony. "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising."Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008):57-89. Rpt in 345-102-MQ: Gendered World Views. Montreal:Eastman,2016,3-19.Print.

Your article on mainstream marketing and advertising is certainly an interesting one. It was especially compelling when you discussed the problems with a marketer’s willful ignorance of accepted ethics and morals. I am in accordance with your belief that tricking and misleading innocent consumers to turn a profit is objectionable behavior.
Yet, I do believe that analyzing the issue of marketing through a gendered lens will enhance your already compelling examples and arguments. To effectively incorporate gender into your article, you must understand the distinction between gender and sex. Sex is your biological designation as either male, female or intersex. Gender, conversely, is a social construct, an idea that was artificially created by humans, that dictates how members of a certain sex are supposed to behave. Ultimately, gender is a performance.
Unfortunately, in contemporary society, most forms of media, advertisements included, propagate concealed or overt messages about the performance of gender. The portrayal of men in advertisements present themes of dominance, virility, and stoicism, while the portrayal of women evokes motifs of submission and sexuality. These persistent messages influence men and women in a major way. Specifically, advertisements often promote rape culture, a society that trivializes the act of rape, by objectifying women and normalizing violence against women.
I strongly encourage you to strengthen the examples provided in your article by touching on problematic advertisements with gendered messages. You will find them in abundance with a quick Google search. Furthermore, I implore you to discuss the promotion of rape culture in modern marketing as it directly overlaps with the subject matter that your article focuses on. You touch on “before and after” pictures, a perfect opportunity to discuss the objectification and hyper-sexualization of women. Before potentially revising your article, I strongly recommend that you further research gender issues and rape culture. I have linked below a few articles to get you started and I hope that you branch out from there.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

Excellent post! I couldn't agree more with what you said. Marketing today has become untrustworthy due to the lies and the manipulation. However, that isn't the only issue here. Nowadays, some ads promote unrealistic goals such as the example you used, weight lose commercials. This leads to women not eating enough and trying to lose weight at an unhealthy speed, all of this because of marketing and "before and after" pictures which for the record, might not be true. Such commercials, especially the ones directed to women, create self-objectification, which is when a person sees themselves as an object. In addition to that, the way that women are represented in other commercials, show that they are nothing but objects, and constantly getting dominated. Men are also represented unrealistically in commercials. They are always big and very muscular. They also don't show a lot of emotion, which is being virile. Men are taught (not only) in commercials not be dominated, contrary to women. And of course, overweight people are rarely featured in marketing. Finally, all of what I described is defined as social construct. This means expectation made by society itself about a specific gender. This link my help you furthermore: https://communicationandgender.wordpress.com/gender-construction-and-ide...