ETHICS IN MARKETING – why do we need to be honest

Blog - Belgrade, 11 March 2022

As we live in a world where we are surrounded by a large number of brands, at the same time bombarded with a huge amount of information, we get the impression that we are losing the power of reasoning and often equate marketing with fraud. Of course, this is not the case when companies, and even individuals who work on the side of brands and agencies, strive for ethical business.

Ethics is a certain value system, based on which we decide whether something is right or wrong, fair or unfair. Ethical marketing promotes honesty, fairness, responsibility, compassion, loyalty, and courage as core values ​​in advertising. A sense of trust with customers is built, which tends to grow into loyalty. Many companies believe that an unethical way of doing business is much more efficient and cost-effective, but this is a mistake. No one likes to be manipulated, cheated on, and deceived. When that happens, the brand image is tarnished and it is very difficult to rebuild the damaged trust. Of course, certain difficulties arise in determining moral correctness, because it is at times a rather subjective category. Individuals have different understandings of what is "good" and "bad."

Why is the abuse of customers’ emotions unethical?

There are well-known products that offer impossible instant solutions, such as certain means for fast weight loss, which usually result in a yo-yo effect, and can be quite unhealthy. It is often emphasized how the consumer will feel using a particular product, and this is fine if the promised outcome largely coincides with the real one, but if the result is missing, the already dissatisfied person becomes even more dissatisfied and the limit of ethical advertising is crossed by entering the space of false promises.

In addition, many advertising campaigns force an ideal physical appearance. Perfect figures with ideal curves and facial features are passed through countless filters in an attempt to serve us the ideal of perfection. This can have a particularly negative effect on young and immature people because they subconsciously adopt the belief that they are not good enough and that they lack something. Isn't it much better to cultivate individuality and authenticity?

Marketing has a certain kind of influence on consumers, and brands must find measure and balance in their advertising messages while respecting ethical norms. Those who do marketing for a brand must believe in the quality of their product because that way they will best present it to others. If they are open and honest in presenting its benefits, they will become more receptive to a larger number of consumers.


Author: Filip Medić, Assistant Content Manager

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