Ethics and Marketing in Modern Business Environment

Subject: Business Ethics
Pages: 2
Words: 590
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Business Ethics

The present-day world dictates its rules to marketers, which consequently affect consumers’ perceptions and form demand. However, not all types of marketing or advertising activities are appropriate since ethics play an important role in this process. The issues of this nature are to be timely addressed, whereas, in reality, it does not necessarily happen (TEDx Talks 2013). Therefore, it is vital to consider this aspect from the perspective of moral norms, which should be adopted by people in this field.

Ethical Issues in Marketing/Advertising

The most important ethical issues in marketing and advertising are related to the customers who are to buy specific products and their characteristics. Thus, it is known that the attention of marketers towards various population groups is not equally distributed. For example, the fact that African American teenagers are more likely than their white peers to be targeted by advertisements of unhealthy foods seems alarming from the point of view of ethics (TEDx Talks 2013). In addition, the varying attitudes of their creators towards men and women contribute to the distorted perceptions of actual needs by new generations (TEDx Talks 2014). Considering the above, it can be concluded that the source and scope of ethical issues in this field are related to the attempts to instill particular values to make people buy products. This situation is complicated by the attempts of marketers to offer goods to specific categories of citizens, thereby contributing to inequality.

Ethical and Unethical Business Activity

The definition of business activity as ethical or unethical is conditional upon the motivation of marketers and the correspondence of their actions to the current regulations regarding ethical principles and personal privacy rights. As per the readings, the former includes a truthful presentation of goods, fair treatment of customers, and social responsibility in the first place (“Ethics and Marketing” n.d). Their combination indicates the proper way of conducting business, whereas the neglect of these aspects implied the violation of professional ethics. In turn, the latter encompasses the need to ensure buyers’ privacy balanced by the requirement of processing individual information for adjusting the offers. From this point of view, the ethical business activity would be restricting data from selling to third parties and applying other methods for its protection.

Moral Norms in Marketing/Advertising and Ethical Position

Moral norms related to the ethics of marketing and advertising should include the establishment of equality and the use of proper sources for product promotion. For example, the attempts to use school buses or public facilities for this purpose are clearly unacceptable (TEDx Talks 2013). The same applies to the intention of marketers to emphasize the importance of one or another population group for the realization of goods (TEDx Talks 2014). As follows from the analysis of the readings and videos on the topic, the perspective of fairness and attention to the needs of all participants instead of the sole orientation on businesses would be beneficial. It will allow eliminating the threats of unequal treatment of citizens while ensuring the profitability of manufacturers’ activity.


To summarize, the ethical aspect of marketing and advertising is essential for satisfying customers’ needs alongside the desire of businesses to increase profits. The issues in this regard usually emerge due to the neglect of people expressed by inattention towards their equality and inappropriateness of activity. The latter is defined by the neglect of regulations concerning personal data privacy and essential principles. Meanwhile, instilling moral norms, such as equality and suitable sources for advertisements, can be advantageous for eliminating citizens’ concerns in this respect.


“Ethics and Marketing.” n.d. [PowerPoint Presentation].

TEDx Talks. 2013. “Marketing Food to Children.” YouTube video. Web.

TEDx Talks. 2014. ” The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women.” YouTube video. Web.