Presentation on theme: "Is Advertising Immoral?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Is Advertising Immoral? PHIL106 – 2010Dan Turton
2 Does Advertising Manipulate Us? Reekie’s Defense of Advertising PHIL106 – 2010Dan Turton
3 Topic Summary Does advertising manipulate us? Reekie’s defense of advertisingCrisp’s limited critique of advertisingDoes advertising make us unhappy?Belch vs. HamiltonHamilton again and wrap up
4 Assessment for this Topic There will be one exam question on this topic (the morality of advertising)You will need to be aware of the arguments in lectures and the readings to be able to fully answer the questionThe question is a simple, obvious and fairly general oneAll of the four lectures and three readings on this topic will be useful to answer the question
5 Today Start addressing the question: An explanation of advertising Is advertising immoral?An explanation of advertisingA defense of advertisingSetting up some of the moral issues
6 Advertising is…Communication from a specific source that intends to inform and influence the audience so that they believe something and/or behave in a certain wayIt is usually:Persuading people to purchase a brand/productPaid forUsing mass mediaBut some marketers are much sneakier…
7 Advertising might also be… Rosser ReevesManager of a successful advertising companyWhile holding up two coins:“[Making] you think that this quarter is more valuable than that one”
8 Last Year ‘Fans’ were Tested Volunteers were either Speights or Tui fansBlind taste test of four cupsEveryone got most wrongEveryone preferred Speights slightly, butNo one could even tell which ones were the same
9 Thanks to Duncan Reekie Most of these arguments are hisSee his reading in the course bookBut, the cutting-edge research tailored to the NZ commercial, cultural and moral environment has been carried out by me
10 The Role of Advertising Advertising supports marketing and business function.A modern business model:Perform consumer researchDevelop new product based on researchAdvertise productSell productImportantly, both the business and the consumers benefit from thisThe business makes money for its investorsThe customers get what they have been wanting
11 The Benefits of Advertising Advertising helps consumers decide what to buyInforms about the existence of new productsInforms about new uses for existing productsInforms about differences between products – laundry powder & razorsAdvertising provides incentives to:Make differentiated products, &Innovative productsWho doesn’t like PS3s, wi-fi, iphones?
12 The Benefits of Advertising 2 Advertising is entertainmentMany ads are:FunnyInterestingArtisticAppealing in other ways
13 The Benefits of Advertising 3 Advertising is good for the economyIt is a huge industryIt employs a lot of peopleIt stimulates economic growth by connecting more of consumers needs and wants with solutionsEconomic growth is goodMeans you can get more things you want
14 The Benefits of Advertising 4 Winston Churchill:“Advertising nourishes the consuming power of men. It creates wants for a better standard of living… It spurs individual exertion and greater production.”Advertising improves our well-being
15 So, What’s Wrong with Advertising? Apparently, advertising deceives people into buying things that they don’t really needApparently, advertising lies, deceives and misleadsApparently, advertising makes people think they need things that they shouldn’t even wantSome people even think it makes us unhappy!
16 Advertising Doesn’t Lie Reasons why advertisers don’t lieMisleading ads are reported and removed from circulationASA: “Truthful Presentation - Advertisements should not contain any statement … which … is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer … or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge.”ASA: “(Obvious hyperbole, identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading).”
17 Advertising Doesn’t Lie Reasons why advertisers don’t lieMisleading ads are reported and removed from circulationLies about product quality are soon discovered, making the lying company go out of businessReally important product categories have extra regulations to prevent lyingAdvertisers don’t want to tarnish the reputation of advertising generally
18 Advertising Doesn’t Make Us Buy Things We Don’t Need Advertising never forces anyone to do anythingAdvertising does influence our purchase decisions (at least it intends to)But what is wrong with that?Advertising can’t encourage you to want something you really don’t needAdvertising can only help you fulfill wants and needs you already have
19 Should Advertising be Allowed to Help Us Fulfill Our Wants? Should we stop people from helping others to fulfill their wants?Depends on the wants…Some things we want are bad for othersSlaves, over-sized cars, blow-off valvesSome things we want are bad for ourselvesCigarettes, highly processed foods, blow-off valves
20 Should Advertising Help Us Fulfill Our Wants? Advertising obviously shouldn’t encourage or help people to harm others but…Who should decide what we should and shouldn’t want (for our own good)?What is better, freedom or having the government protect us from our own wants?Why shouldn’t I be able to do whatever I want with my money (without hurting others)?Consumer Sovereignty: Surely I have that right!Where do we draw the line?
21 Summary Advertising is good because: It helps consumers decide what to buyIt provides incentives for innovationAt least some of it is entertainingIts good for the economyIt allows us to improve our lives (as we see fit) by helping us to satisfy our wants and needsBusting the myths about advertising:Advertising does not lie or deceiveAdvertising cannot make people buy things they don’t want
22 Next Time Dan is back Read: Get ready to discuss: Roger Crisp’s ‘Persuasive Advertising, Autonomy, and the Creation of DesireGet ready to discuss:Why advertising actually is immoral – it creates desires in us that we cannot even attempt to reject
23 Does Advertising Manipulate Us? Crisp’s Limited Critique of Advertising PHIL106 – 2010Dan Turton
24 TodayLooking at an argument that a certain type of advertising is immoralRoger Crisp:“In this paper, I shall argue that all forms of a certain common type of advertising [persuasive advertising] are morally wrong, on the ground that they override the autonomy of consumers.”
25 Informative AdvertsCrisp: informative advertising is usually OK because it facilitates (not overrides) the desire-making processE.g. Jacket on saleHe already wanted that kind of jacket, now he knows where to get it (for cheap)
26 Persuasive Adverts Crisp: ‘persuasive advertising’ is immoral because it overrides ourautonomy (our ability to makepurchase decisions for ourselves)Forms of persuasive advertising (by which the desire for products can be created):Repetition – drumming a brand into your head‘Puffery’ – linking the product to unconscious survival and reproduction-related desiresSubliminal ads – New Jersey cinema experiment
27 How Subliminal Ads ‘Work’ Unconscious emotional manipulation bySuggestion – often just the product logoAssociation – the logo and something goodIf you are aware of seeing/hearing it, then it’s not subliminal advertising(or it’s a failed attempt at subliminal advertising)
28 The Truth about Subliminal Ads Subliminal ads alone can’t make you buy something that you didn’t wantPurchasing a product is too complex a behaviour for subliminal ads to controlUnconscious priming works sometimesSome priming is rejected
29 Arrington: Autonomous Desire Desires are autonomous if we accept themE.g. Arrington sees an ad for hair dyeHe desires hair dye because he desires to look youngerAnd, he is perfectly happy to have both of those desiresTherefore, (according to him) his desire for hair dye is autonomous
30 Crisp: Autonomous Desire Is Arrington’s desire autonomous?What if the ad showed a man (with 100% not-grey hair) in a position of authority and surrounded by beautiful women?Perhaps Arrington's real desires were for power and sexShow yourexperienceand vitality
31 Crisp: How Adverts Persuade They appeal to our unconscious desiresCrisp: they might appeal to our “unconscious desires for power and sex”
32 Unconscious Desires? The unconscious desire for sex Makes us laugh at jokes that aren’t funnyThe unconscious desire for power$$ is the best indicator of power these daysMakes us angry/disappointed if we don’t get that promotion/job we were afterAlso makes us laugh at jokes that aren’t funny
33 Evolution by Natural Selection Over many generations, types of organisms tend to develop traits that increase individual members chances of surviving and reproducingUnconscious desires for power and sex are traits that can help with thisTherefore, we should expect to see a lot of traits that are conducive to noticing and getting power and sex
34 Unconscious DesiresAdvertisers don’t always target sex and power thoughMost ads for FMCGs are targeted at women or women and childrenRemember that Persil makes your clothes whiter?Well, that’s not all it does:
35 Crisp: Rational Desire Persuasive advertising creates irrational desiresIf our main desire for a product is subconscious, then rationality doesn’t even come into it - we cannot possibly accept it or even consider it!Remember that an autonomous desire is one that we accept
36 Crisp: Free Choice/Autonomy Being able to provide any old reason for why you bought something (like Arrington’s e.g.) isn’t necessarily helpful“But, I like Meow Mix”, “But, I like Grecian Formula 16”We need to weigh up the relevant reasons in order to make a free choicePersuasive advertising uses reasons that we are not aware of and so cannot evaluate
37 Crisp: Control or Manipulation You control someone if you make them do something for reasons that they would not consider… reasonable.Making Crisp do a jig (by tying ropes to his limbs) just because I feel like it would be controlling himMaking me buy hair dye because I unconsciously desire power and sexAdverts can do this
38 Crisp’s General Argument Persuasive advertising unconsciously creates the desire for a product by drumming it into your brain or by associating it with sex, power or some other thing that is commonly and unconsciously cravedTherefore, the real reason for our desire to buy a product is hidden from us, we cannot evaluate itTherefore, the desire is not autonomousTherefore, persuasive advertising overrides our autonomy/freedom of choice (which is immoral)
39 SummaryCrisp: Persuasive advertising uses subconscious associations to try to make us desire products in a way that bypasses our autonomyRemember that this is a specific definition of ‘persuasive advertising’Some adverts clearly try to be persuasive in the manner Crisp suggestsAre such adverts immoral for trying to do this?
40 Next Time Read: Get ready to discuss: Belch & Belch ‘Economic Effects of Advertising’Get ready to discuss:Does advertising make us happy… or unhappy?
41 Does Advertising Makes Us Unhappy? Belch vs. Hamilton PHIL106 – 2010Dan Turton
42 Recap of CrispPersuasive advertising uses repetition and subconscious associations to try to make us desire productsCrisp thinks it works and that it is immoral because it overrides our autonomyIt most likely works to some extent, because persuasive advertising is so widespreadDoes it actually override our autonomy, though?Is it manipulative enough to be immoral, though?
43 Today The advertisers argument for how advertising makes us happier Hamilton’s criticism of that argument
44 Problem: Margin of Discontent Margin of Discontent = Gap between what we have and what we wantHappiness = satisfaction with how your life is going (no discontent)Examples of discontent :You have a Corolla, but you want a PorscheYou work at McDonalds, but you want a job at Logan BrownYou have a 14” tube TV, but you want a 21” flat screen
45 Hamilton’s Solutions to the Margin of Discontent Hamilton mentions two possible solutions,but he thinks that the first solution doesn’t seem to work:Economic growth solution:“People satisfy their wants by increasing their possessions, thus becoming happier”‘Sages’ solution:“Give up wanting”
46 ‘Neo-Liberal’ (Advertisers) Argument (Roughly According to Hamilton) Reducing the Margin of Discontent makes people happierEconomic growth helps consumers to reduce their Margin of DiscontentAdvertising encourages economic growthAdvertising helps consumers to make better decisions about how to reduce the Margin of Discontentc) Therefore, advertising helps make people happier (by helping to reduce the Margin of Discontent in two ways)
47 Hamilton’s Refutation of the ‘Neo-Liberal’ (Advertisers) Argument More $$ (economic growth) does not make us happierTherefore, P2 is falseAnd, advertising does not help consumers to make better decisions about how to reduce the Margin of DiscontentTherefore, P4 is false
48 Does $$ Make Us Happy? If 1. and 2. are both true, then why have Reducing the margin of discontent makes people happierEconomic growth helps consumers to reduce their margin of discontentIf 1. and 2. are bothtrue, then why havewe gotten richer…but not happier?Evidence?
49 AdaptationLottery winners return to pretty much the same level of happiness after 1 yearThe more we have, the more we want, and the more we think we need!Evidence?
50 So, Does $$ Make Us Happy?So, unless you are materialistic, more $$ makes very little difference to our happiness – much less than:A rewarding jobA loving relationshipVolunteeringBut materialistic people seem to have a pretty strange idea of happinessHaving said all this… who would not want to win lotto?
51 Possible Neo-Liberal Response (Consumer Sovereignty) Remember Consumer Sovereignty?Regardless of happiness, we have a right to do what we want with our moneyEconomic growth gives people more freedom to choose whatever they wish to do with their lives and their moneyWithout advertising consumers would find it very difficult to exercise this freedom
52 Hamilton Fights BackAdvertisers claim to be helping consumers to freely choose how to best satisfy their needs and wants – but this is false!Consumers do not freely choose between products because advertising manipulates our preferences (Crisp agrees with this) – Consumer Sovereignty is a myth!More choice doesn’t help us satisfy our needs and wantsTherefore, P4 is false
53 Consumer Sovereignty is a Myth! Consumers do not freely choose between products because advertising manipulates our preferencesOur preferences are formed inside, not outside, of the marketplaceIndeed, consumers values, goals and personal identities are all formed inside the marketplace!Evidence?
54 The Abundance of Real Choice is a Myth The abundance of choices advertising provides are limited to meaningless choices between variations of things that we didn’t need in the first place“Most advertising, unfortunately, is devoted to an attempt to build up… irrational preferences for certain brands… to persuade consumers [to] buy Bumpo rather than Bango” – Prof. BouldingEvidence?
55 How Well Did Hamilton Fight Back? Advertisers claim to be helping consumers to freely choose how to best satisfy their needs and wantsHamilton claims that:Advertising coerces consumers into satisfying the greedy financial wants of businesses, not their own wants or needsAdvertising doesn’t provide more real choice, so it doesn’t help consumers choose what they really want
56 Summary – You DecideDoes advertising make us happier by making us richer?Or do we adapt to and waste our extra income on things that don’t make us happy?Does advertising help us decide how best to satisfy our needs & wants?Or does it make it harder to decide between a bunch of irrelevantly differentiated options?
57 Next Time Read: Get ready to discuss: Clive Hamilton: ‘Identity’ Hamilton’s idea that the whole point of advertising is to make us dissatisfiedExam tips!
58 Does Advertising Makes Us Unhappy? Hamilton Again & Wrap Up PHIL 106 – 2010Dan Turton
59 Today A quick recap, then Clive Hamilton's argument that advertising makes us unhappy and is therefore immoral, thenA summary of the whole morality of advertising sectionTips for the exam question on this topic
60 Hamilton’s Argument that Advertising Makes Us Unhappy The margin of discontent is a source of unhappinessAdvertising perpetuates the margin of discontent by making us feel dissatisfied with our livesTherefore, advertising encourages us to be unhappy (via dissatisfaction with our current lives)Therefore, advertising is immoral(
61 Does Advertising Make Us Dissatisfied 1? Advertisers and their critics both agree that advertising influences consumers…But, to what extent does it do it? And,How does it do it?
62 How Much Does Advertising Influence Us? Advertising companies are in the funny position of:Having to tell their clients that they can influence consumers very strongly. While,Having to tell consumer rights groups that they have very little influence on consumersAnyone who thinks that advertising doesn’t affect them at all is wrong
63 Does Advertising Make Us Dissatisfied 2? Remember Winston Churchill’s quote…He thought advertising was good because it made people strive for a higher standard of living… but how did it do that?Maybe by making everyone feel dissatisfied with what they have at the moment by showing them something ‘better’
64 Does Advertising Make Us Dissatisfied 3? Never more so than with our prime biological motivators (for getting a good mate/s)…Status for men (or more directly; just getting women).Beauty (sexiness) for women.Real beauty for women.
65 Brand vs. Company Integrity Crazy that some companies/brands advertise in a much more moral manner than others…. right?Wrong (In this case anyway) !Remember that companies are there to make money(Charities are there to make the world a better place)
66 Does Advertising Really Make Us Dissatisfied? Advertising either helps us solve our existing dissatisfactions, orAdvertising constantly provides reasons to be dissatisfied and then helps us momentarily ‘solve’ them… and then tries to make us dissatisfied again! …OrA woosy in between position (only some ads are bad)Could ads that make us feel satisfied work?
67 Summary – Hamilton on Ads Advertisers would say they help us all by:Helping us close the margin of discontentRaising the standard of livingHelping us to exercise our consumer sovereignty and our personal choices about how to liveHamilton says that advertising is immoral because:It doesn’t make us happier like they claim it does, andIt coerces us into a constant state of dissatisfaction
68 Section Summary: Is Advertising Immoral? Advertisers help everyone by:Helping us close the margin of discontentGrowing the economy & raising our standard of livingHelping us to exercise our consumer sovereignty and our personal choices about how to liveHamilton: advertising is immoral because:It coerces us into a constant state of dissatisfactionCrisp: persuasive advertising is immoral:Because it overrides our autonomy and…It makes us desire products without us realising!
69 Exam Question Tips Approach: Ask Ramon about the exam format Answer booklet providedClosed book (don’t bring notes etc. in!)Approach:Make sure every paragraph refers back to the main qnBe clear what you are arguing forBetter to discuss 1 argument from each side in detail than all arguments in no real detailUse some examplesJustify all of your non-obvious claims!The qn itself is obvious and requires a knowledge of all the readings and arguments from the 4 lectures on advertising
70 Find Out More The perils of consumerism and what to do about it: See what the anti-advertising community is up to (and trying to sell to you):Don’t worry though! Find out how advertising is self-regulated in New Zealand
71 Do MoreLet the government know what you think about how advertising is regulated:Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman – minister of broadcastingTEL (04) (Parliament)Hon Simon Power – minister of commerceTEL (04) (Parliament)