infographic article ethics in advertising

Ethics in advertising today

Persuasive and inductive marketing in the strict sense is largely outdated. Ethics in advertising today goes from a mere moral value to a key to communicating with effective transparency and gaining people's trust. Being ethical and authentic can pay off... but be careful when making promises!
March 28 2024

Ethics in advertising in our era opens up various reflections. To be able to do them, we lay the foundations by collecting the elements to consider.

We have a wide variety of channels and media. From this variety they were born different forms of communication, each with its own connotations. There is a major access to personal and consumer data, and increasingly refined technologies to collect and process them.

So the advertising target they receive more stimuli than ever from different channels. They have many more possibility to inform yourself, to receive personalized messages but also to get confused or disperse. The latter aspects are also linked to current environmental and cultural factors, such as sustainability, the impact of digitization and automation from different points of view.

All these interlinked factors are cause and effect of interpretation keys, values, expectations, hopes and concerns.

globe with people ethics

But what do people expect?

In essence we can say that traditional persuasive marketing is mostly cleared through customs. THE advertising techniques that derive from it are viewed with widespread distrust. Access to data and news allows people to have a broader vision of the world, although it is more fragmented by the opportunity to pursue subjective interests and to believe in what they want as opposed to decaying dogmas.

So people in the West are basically led to prefer one clear, transparent, empathetic, participatory communication... but not through didactic formulas and never in contradiction with the real choices that the brand makes.

In fact, when an advertising communication is openly made to ride trends without believing in it, it takes on the appearance of a forced induction: do we really want users to feel fed or made fun of?

The values ​​that are most popular and how they manifest themselves

Honesty, respect and social responsibility, joined to one comprehension deep of emotional dynamics of the public, are expressed in truthful and not misleading messages, to consideration towards users, businesses, society and the promotion of positive and constructive values.

So they're just nice words.

The challenge of being ethical in advertising lies in authentically communicate how and in what ways the brand actually exercises these values. This consideration therefore invites you to research your own brand identity practical manifestations of the aforementioned values ​​and transform them in a visual, aesthetic, symbolic, verbal and musical key. From here, therefore, the value can take on different faces.

It is in this way that we move from the generic to the particular, from the aseptic to the connotative, from the artificial to the natural, from the vague to the clear.

In the final, from weak to effective.

Declining ethics in advertising

Ethics cannot be reduced to being a moral choice, but a real one strategy which can bring appreciable results.

In the context of the modern advertising, ethics then translates into a series of conscious choices that reflect shareable values. Honesty and transparency, for example, can manifest themselves by presenting products and services in ways that effectively reflect what they are and what they can offer. Inclusivity it can be represented by overturning aesthetic paradigms. Sustainability it can be exercised and communicated first by adopting relevant production and supply chain models, then by promoting them.

The impact of ethics on brand perception

Ethics in advertising profoundly influence how consumers perceive a brand. Today, trust can be easily broken and difficult to rebuild, and we know that it is a fundamental requirement.

Modern users have unlimited access to online information and they can do it in-depth product research before making a purchase. This means that every broken promise can be quickly discovered, shared and irremediably damages the reputation of a brand.

This link between ethics and brand perception highlights a fundamental aspect of modern marketing: Consumers seek authentic connections that align with their values ​​and principles.

Balancing ethics and profit

This challenge is no small feat. On the one hand, in fact, there exists the pressure to earn, on the other align with an advertising ethic that is consistent to what the brand really chooses from all points of view.

crossroads natural space ethics

Adopting ethical advertising practices can sometimes take significant investments or even lead to giving up short-term profit opportunities. In the long term, however, there is one thing at stake retention stable and long-lasting.

A fundamental aspect in navigating this thin line between ethics and profit is transparency. For example, if a gradual transition is needed to fully adopt sustainable practices, rather than immediately declaring that you are sustainable, you can openly communicate the transition process. Or make declarations of intent... and perhaps be able, thanks to these, to sell more as if it were a "fundraiser" and provide reports gradually.

Regulations and laws

Being ethical also does stay calm legally. In fact, the Italian regulatory framework that protects against misleading and deceptive advertising is varied and constantly evolving. Staying up to date on this can be challenging, but it protects both brands and the users of their advertising.

To find out more, find out about the body in Italy that regulates the regulations relating to advertising communication: theAGCOM.

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