In Defense of Advertising: A Social Perspective

Abstract

Many critics have questioned the ethics of advertising as an institution in current American society. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine three negative social trends that have been attributed to advertising: (a) the elevation of consumption over other social values, (b) the increasing use of goods to satisfy social needs, and (c) the increasing dissatisfaction of individual consumers. This explanation yields a defense of advertising which argues that the underlying cause of these negative trends is not advertising, but a larger social factor - capitalism. Solutions that address the capitalistic roots of these negative social trends are suggested.

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Phillips, B.J. In Defense of Advertising: A Social Perspective. Journal of Business Ethics 16, 109–118 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017948331820

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Keywords

  • Economic Growth
  • Social Factor
  • Negative Trend
  • Individual Consumer
  • Social Perspective