Advertising, ethics and the environment: a personal view

Andrew Brown
Advertising Association

The debate about the ethics of advertising and its role both in markets and society has evolved noticeably over the almost 14 years of my tenure at the Advertising Association. In general, I believe it has become more politicised and points of principle have been sidestepped as the forces of social engineering become more focused on the 'ends' justifying the 'means'. Distrust of the market has increased, and the calls for its regulation have increased, with less consideration of the implications of unintended consequences.

But that may be a somewhat over-simplified conclusion. There have also been countertrends centred around de-regulation and greater liberalisation, and the revolution in the media landscape has overshadowed all developments. Recognition of the inability to regulate in certain media sectors has become re-interpreted, with legislators demanding better forms of self-regulation as the best way forward.