Viewpoint: The Ethical Consequences of Your Advertisement Matter

Wallace S. Snyder
American Advertising Federation


A proactive consideration of advertising ethics is essential to building consumer trust-the very essence of brand building-and will drive consumers to the company's products and services. Competition and the marketplace propel American business. Marketing, which is expected to play a key role, historically focuses on the four P's: product, price, promotion, and place. Advertising ethics is given little or no attention in this mix and usually not until the company must make a reactive response when its advertising offends consumers.

A concern for advertising ethics is critical to business welfare, as well as the welfare of our country and our citizens, considering its enormous impact on our economy. The $200 billion industry largely funds our entertainment and programming and informs consumers about products and services. Also, the economic activity generated by advertising supports 21 million of the 138 million jobs in the United States (Global Insight, 2007).