The Virtues and Vices Behind Marketing

by Juicycouture on February 9, 2017 - 4:20pm

 

            Many forms of marketing in the business world have a tendency to cause controversy with their public. More specifically, companies such as Dolce&Gabanna, Guess, and Reebok have attempted to attract attention to their brand  using unethical advertisements. This Reebok advertisement is unethical because it promotes the vices of dishonesty and hatred. It follows virtue ethics considering that it shows creativity while at the same time promoting dishonesty and hatred.

 

            Some might argue this advertisement models virtue because it shows creativity. According to The Cambridge Dictionary, a virtue is defines as “a good moral quality in a person, or the general quality of being morally good.” It is seen as a human right in our society to have a freedom of speech and expression. It might be said that they are doing their job as a firm to market their product creatively and in a way that the consumer will remember their name. Due to the fact that the marketers behind this advertisement publicize their brand creatively, some might say there is nothing wrong with it. Many might confuse legality and morality. Although freedom of speech is legal and often encouraged in our society, a certain moral standard should be upheld, especially with brands as prominent Reebok. Since the ethical framework of virtue ethics “focuses on the character of the person rather than the details of a single action”(Hendricks, 2016), creativity falls into the driving concept of practical wisdom. In other words, because the marketer is seen as having the virtue of creativity, they are considered a moral human being.

 

            However, this advertisement also promotes the vices of dishonesty and hatred. It displays the message that looking fit is more important than standing by loved ones. It also makes it seem as though masculinity is superior to femininity. This is because the advertisement is a photo of a male’s arm and waistline, specifically targeting a male demographic. Marketing their product in  a way that trivializes women  is seen as wrong because it alludes to a patriarchal ideology, one that modern society has been actively trying to eliminate. In our society it is seen as moral to treat all genders equally.  The advertisement also makes it seem that male infidelity is accepted and normalized, subjecting women to poor treatment and creating an unfair double-standard. By doing so they are eliminating, and even insulting, an entire portion of their target consumer.  Hatred is an antonym of love and according to Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Selingman, the virtue of love goes under the category of humanity which is defined as “interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others.” In sum, to others this advertisement might be seen as offensive because it encourages patriarchy, dishonesty and hatred.

 

            In conclusion, this advertisement is unethical because although not all of us prioritize the same virtues at the same level, which is an issue when it comes to virtue ethics, it is common to see honesty as more important than creativity. Many people are not creative and are not seen as immoral however, if they are not honest, many individuals might classify dishonesty as an extremely immoral characteristics and consequently classify them as an immoral individual.

 

Works Cited

 

            "Free English Dictionary, Translations and Thesaurus." Cambridge Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017

           

            Hendricks, Scott. "Virtue Ethics: A Moral System You've Never Heard of — But Probably Use." Big Think. N.p., 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

Comments

Your analysis of the advertisement is very interesting and intriguing. Your article caught my attention and I was very pleased with the new information I obtained after reading it. However, one aspect was left out and wasn’t thoroughly analyzed. The sexist message that is being conveyed to men should also be considered. When adding a gendered lens, it is essential to study both genders in order to further the analysis. You wrote that marketers are “eliminating, and even insulting, an entire portion of their target consumer”. However, you failed to recognize the abusive message directed towards the other portion of consumers. This advertisement portrays men as having to be highly sexual in order to be accepted in society. It promotes and glorifies hegemonic masculinity. It insinuates that men need to be in control of their significant other and that they need to have domination over women. The need to conform to the “man box” is suggested. In addition, men’s vast range of sexual desires are ignored and rejected. Instead, only heterosexuality is praised in this ad. These messages that are taught to boys and men “threaten[s] to alienate them from their own sexuality” (Sharp and Wade 170). As you mentioned, it implies that being fit is more important than being loyal to your loved one. However, this ad also implies that a man must be fit in order to be loved and wanted. We cannot forget or ignore the sexism that male consumers are subjected to by the media.

Helpful website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemonic_masculinity

Work Cited:

Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp, “Selling Sex,” in Susan Dente Ross and Paul Martin Lester (eds.) Images that Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2011): 163-172.

Wow! Interesting analysis!

This post was really captivating. It contained so many arguments on how this advertisement is unethical and immoral. Furthermore, your argumentation is strongly written; it prevents a possible counter-argument and bolsters your own arguments. However, my main doubts lie in your analysis of genders and gender roles. In the advertisement, it is possible to see that the illustrated male is a hegemonic male. Hegemonic masculinity is a type of masculinity that encourage male to dominate by conforming to the “man box.” The “man box” is a type of social construct that contains “qualities” such as strong, rugged, player and rich. This relates to how other medias and tools such as video games and movies only directly relate to this type one type of man. It would be interesting to point out other tools which affirm the same point as this advertisement. I believe you forgot to mention the damages that the advertisement causes to men that do not fit in this “man box,” since it is false that such a type of unethical advertisement is a problem for women only. On the same feet, this ad depicts how women are objects, while men are subjects. However, the consequences of the actions are being ignored, such as creating inequality between the two sexes. Adding the consequences will make the text more interesting and stronger. I would recommend you to read “Selling Sex.” In this reading, many effects of the advertisements are analyzed thoroughly.

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

Good insight

Excellent post, couldn't agree more with what you've said. Marketers today seem to want to grab your attention the second you look at what they're promoting. I agree with you when you say that this advertisement is a sexist one, but there are still other arguments that should be mentioned. This advertisement seems to promote hegemonic masculinity. The slogan "cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout" jumps out to me here, it is suggesting that, if you are a man, being muscular, big and athletic (key terms taken from the man box) should be your number one priority. This ad sets an expectation that men should be virile and nothing more. Like you mentioned, this ad completely disregards women, as the company's wanted consumers appear to be men. Furthermore, Reebok's slogan could use a little work due to the fact that men are directly associated with women. In "Selling Sex", both Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp indicate that in advertisements or commercials, "men are taught that only one type of sexuality is acceptable. Gay men, for example, are excluded from this binary, and their sexuality is made invisible or derided" (167). I'd like to share a website that goes into further detail about the subject and presents interesting statistics about sexism in the media; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/marketin...

Excellent post, couldn't agree more with what you've said. Marketers today seem to want to grab your attention the second you look at what they're promoting. I agree with you when you say that this advertisement is a sexist one, but there are still other arguments that should be mentioned. This advertisement seems to promote hegemonic masculinity. The slogan "cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout" jumps out to me here, it is suggesting that, if you are a man, being muscular, big and athletic (key terms taken from the man box) should be your number one priority. This ad sets an expectation that men should be virile and nothing more. Like you mentioned, this ad completely disregards women, as the company's wanted consumers appear to be men. Furthermore, Reebok's slogan could use a little work due to the fact that men are directly associated with women. In "Selling Sex", both Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp indicate that in advertisements or commercials, "men are taught that only one type of sexuality is acceptable. Gay men, for example, are excluded from this binary, and their sexuality is made invisible or derided" (167). I'd like to share a website that goes into further detail about the subject and presents interesting statistics about sexism in the media; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/marketin...

Great article, I really admired how you structured the essay; it allows for a concise and easy to follow text. I understood the points you were arguing such as how the ad promotes dishonesty within close relationships and how male infidelity is presented as socially acceptable. Overall, I’m glad I stumbled upon this essay. However, there is another element to your argument that I think would support the message you’re trying to portray: the element of Hegemonic Masculinity. Hegemonic Masculinity is a type of masculinity that promotes male dominance and justifies the subordination of women. The ad you wrote about screams this message to its viewers. Not only do the words “Cheat on your girlfriend, not your workout” illustrate Hegemonic Masculinity, they objectify women as subjects for male consumption, which also promotes the Patriarchal World View; a system where men control political, economic, religious, social and familial power. These theories would help your article as they help administer a reason why such ads exist and why these types of messages are seen everywhere in contemporary society. I’ve linked some articles below that further explain the above-mentioned concepts.

Hegemonic Masculinity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemonic_masculinity
Patriarchal World View: https://www.thoughtco.com/patriarchal-society-feminism-definition-3528978

Very well written and very topical issue. Now a days, advertisements seem to be pushing more and more towards inappropriate and un ethical imagery… To me, in this article, Rebok promotes two major ideas in something called the “man box”. The man box is a concept that defines masculinity and if you do not “fit” in the man box you are not considered a man. To me, the two main ideas that this add supports is the idea that a man is strong and more concerned with the ultimate body and that he is emotionally superior or unattached to women. In the man box we see words like strong, tall, fit, muscular… so on and so forth. These words are the definition of what men should look like and this is what this add promotes by saying that your workout i.e. your appearance is more important that your significant other. This idea also promotes the idea that men are less emotional and/or emotionally stronger than women. “Cheat on youth girlfriend and not on your workout” is saying that men are more attached to themselves as opposed to other people. If you are interested in learning more about tha man box here is a really interesting ted talk.

https://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men

About the author