The Honesty of Advertising

The development of technology and society has affected all areas of human activity, including transportation, education, manufacturing, personal and professional relations. One of the spheres that have been influenced the most is marketing and advertising that seek to fit into modern social reality. Today, the performance of business companies that aim to maintain a good reputation and positive public image while making maximum profit is seriously affected by changing demands and expectations of potential customers.

Organizations have to rely on ethics, social responsibility and the principles of honesty in marketing to satisfy the increasing demands of potential customers, promote their products and services, and expand operations. Therefore, it would be beneficial to analyze how these core principles contribute to the overall performance and financial success of business companies. It would be also helpful to review dishonest methods of advertising and determine how sustainable marketing contributes to satisfying modern customer demands.

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Firstly, it is essential to review the history of business and trade to analyze how marketing and advertising have changed over centuries. According to the specialists, the history of marketing and advertising can be divided into several major periods: trade, production orientation, sales orientation, marketing orientation, relationship marketing and social marketing eras (More). The first period lasted until the beginning of the industrial age and included trading handmade goods through exploring new territories. The second era began with the emergence of the Industrial Revolution when business companies focused on producing maximum quantities of goods and selling them to astonished customers who were willing to buy almost anything (More). During these two periods, advertising was not widely used due to the lack of products and services. The sales orientation era marked the milestone in the history of trade because supply has finally overcome demand (More). Due to this fact, manufacturers turned to marketing, branding, and aggressive advertising to attract as many customers as possible and gain an edge over competitors.

Starting from the second half of the 20th century, business organizations began to employ the best professionals in the field of advertising to create efficient marketing strategies aimed at attracting additional public attention and building positive company reputation (More). The relationship marketing era marked the intensification of communication between customers and suppliers. Throughout this period, business companies focused on building customer loyalty through the implementation of principles of honesty and trust in advertising and operations to gain maximum popularity and expand their international operations.

Eventually, the development of communication technologies and the emergence of the Internet have led to the beginning of social marketing era (More). These changes have also seriously contributed to the intensification of international communication, socialization between different groups of people and the availability of information, impacting public opinion and social reality. Human society has become aware of such problems of global significance as pollution, excessive consumption, and dishonesty in advertising. These alterations have contributed to changing customer demands and expectations and have made it impossible for business organizations to practice dishonest and deceptive advertising.

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Today, business companies have to apply the principles of honesty, ethics and social responsibility to advertising and marketing in order to maintain a good reputation, positive public image, and attract potential customers. It is important for organizations to create a feeling of mutual trust and understanding between suppliers and consumers to gain their loyalty and achieve financial success. This goal can be achieved with the implementation of sustainable marketing strategies and ethical codes for employees, as well as by addressing the issue of environmental safety. Businessmen in developed countries like Australia understand this tendency and hold special conference and seminars on the issue of promoting ethics and honesty in marketing (Waller 52). Regretfully, many organizations still use deceptive advertising to manipulate public views and opinions and persuade customers to buy their products and services (Goshgarian 112). Therefore, it would be beneficial to analyze these means of influencing social reality.

Nowadays, society tends to criticize marketing and advertising on the basis of several main factors: high prices, deceptive practices, high pressure selling, shoddy or poor products, planned obsolescence, and poor services to disadvantaged customers (Armstrong and Kotler, 2012, p. 584-592). First of all, it is crucial to review the most popular methods of persuasion and deception used in advertising.

According to scientists, business companies use a specific set of means to influence their customers: unfinished sentences, weasel words, false claims, deceptive brochures, catchy slogans, the sense of involvement and simple language (Goshgarian, p.112-130). The first technique is used to make a potential customer make personal assumption without any factual basis. Weasel words like help, virtually, new, improved, works fast or like magic that can be applied to any products or services are designed to influence people by affecting the emotional state of the audience (Goshgarian 112-120). False claims and deceptive information provided in advertising brochures are aimed at making customers want to buy things that will not grant the desired effect. Catchy slogans and simple language are called to influence as wide audience as possible as well as to make the meaning of advertising clear to everyone (Goshgarian 123-130). Therefore, it can be stated that business companies use all available means of influencing potential customers to pay for products and services.

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Additionally, some social factors also contribute to the efficiency of deceptive advertising. According to research, poverty, lack of education, and especially, illiteracy make people more susceptible to manipulation and persuasion (Kozol 252-258). This situation can be explained by the fact that uneducated people usually do not possess a complex worldview and tend to take things on trust. It is clear that taking advantage of such customers by deceiving them with advertising is a highly unethical practice that should not be implemented by trustworthy companies.

The development of communication and information technologies has seriously contributed to increasing social awareness about the issues of global importance like environmentalism and sustainability, shaping customer demands. In order to attract potential customers with such views, business companies have implemented new marketing and advertising strategies.

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