Making the Case for Enhanced Advertising Ethics: How a New Way of Thinking About Advertising Ethics May Build Consumer Trust

Wally Snyder

Institute for Advertising Ethics

INTRODUCTION

The proposition is simple: the advertising industry will benefit from practicing enhanced ethics. And its professionals can be inspired to do so.

Advertising is everywhere in the lives of consumers—in the many traditional outlets and now online as marketers are working hard to connect effectively with consumers. And, in a reversal of roles, it is now the consumers who are in control of the commercial information they want and where they want to receive it.

As one who has worked my entire career in the field of advertising—both as a regulator and counselor—I know how important advertising is to the economy and to consumer choice.

In fact, the U.S. government and the Supreme Court have been active in protecting the right to advertise in a truthful manner.[1] Yet, year after year, it is reported that consumers rank advertising at the bottom of the list on honesty and ethics (Jones, 2007). From the hundreds of meetings I have had with marketers, agencies, and media companies, I know how dedicated they are and how hard they work for their companies and consumers.