Title Name: Course: Professor: Institution: City and State: Date: Abstract The art of advertising is fast changing with the rapid technological changes. The increase in competition for the market by advertiser has not made advertising any easier. This has led to the use of sexuality to increase attention…
This paper, drawing support from the various media theories, tries to explain the social costs of such advertising approach, the responsibility an advertiser ahs to protect the indirect audience and how the advertiser can protect himself from being unethical when advertising. 1. The Social Costs Associated With Sexually Suggestive Advertising Advertising is a paid form of marketing by a sponsor of ideas, products of services. Advertising is an important tool in marketing and branding since it can be used to modify and drive consumer behavior (Gould, 1994). Through advertising an audience can be persuaded, encouraged to buy a product or otherwise manipulated. The essence of advertising is to create a product image through associating the product with certain desirable values. Of late, many advertisers are increasingly using sexuality to sell their products. Many researches that have been conducted have come to the conclusion that the use of sexually suggestive adverts is more effective than the plain one (Reichert, 2002). This has led to advertisers employing this technique even in products that are not related to one’s sexuality just to attract attention. The use of sexually suggestive adverts started a while ago. Only then, the characters used were not as suggestive as those used these days. Today’s consumers are exposed to ten times more sex advertising than those that lived in the 1940s (Donaldson and Werhane, 1999). This sex appeal approach is proving detrimental to the society raising the question whether it is moral to use sex appeal to channel attention to an advert. The media has a major influence on the behavior and attitudes of the consumers, be it the traditional or the new media. There are several media theories that can be used to support the effect the media has and how these effects impact as social costs. The first theory is the social cognitive theory. This theory was advanced by Neal Miller and John Dollard in 1941. It is not purely a media theory as it is also applied in psychology, medicine, social work and education. This theory posits that human beings acquire a major part of their knowledge through observing others’ actions and experiences (Donaldson and Werhane, 1999). It implies that people have a high tendency of copying what they perceive as good to them. According to this theory, a consumer will be driven by cues and then respond to them in the hope of gaining the desired results. In advertising context this involves replication of the actions, dressing or holding to values that the models in the adverts purports to. The social cognitive theory complements the media effects theory. This theory posits the media as a powerful tool that can be used to set the agenda within a society. According to the proponents of this theory, it is easy to influence the public by showing them what need to be seen and thus influencing their behaviors and attitudes through the same. Advertisers are using this theory of effects to influence consumer behavior by repeatedly airing their adverts in broadcast media and placing them in the print media (Zillmann, 2000). There are several researches that have been conducted to show how the media affects behavior and attitude and how people observe and replicate what they have seen in the media in their social life. A good example that corroborates these theories is a research conducted by Albert Bandura in his paper titled “ ...
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