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.
"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.