Name: Loo Zheng Xian, George 13th September 2011 Marketing Ethics: A Response to Roger Crisp Introduction In his article “Persuasive Advertising, Autonomy, and the Creation of Desire”, Roger Crisp discusses his views on the issue of persuasive advertising. His overarching argument is that persuasive advertising ‘overrides the autonomy of consumers’ and he concludes that ‘all forms of a certain common type of advertising (i.e. persuasive advertising) are morally wrong’. In my response to this article, I will adopt an ethical viewpoint towards my analysis of various points raised by Crisp. Viewing Crisp’s argument from a Kantian perspective, the deprivation of autonomy stemming from persuasive advertising would be deemed as unethical. From a
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Further Evaluation of the Article While Crisp’s article proves convincing based on ethical grounds, could the advent of persuasive advertising have brought about any positive effects to society? Consider the case of Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign which utilised the technique of repetition mentioned by Crisp. Through repeated advertising of its product across the board of various mediums, Coca-Cola ‘drummed’ its branding into the consumer’s mind. However, was this necessarily a bad thing? It has been argued that when people buy Coke, they are not just purchasing a beverage, but experiences - and how these experiences connect the consumer with what they imagine life should be. In doing so, persuasive marketing has contributed to making life richer for its consumers. From a deontological standpoint, the sheer financial clout that Coca-Cola has amassed bestows upon it a moral duty to enrich the lives of the society which is independent of its financial self-interest. Through persuasive advertising, it can be said to have increased the spectrum of experiences of consumers, at a price found to be affordable by the common man. Consequently, from a deontologist’s point of view, I would suggest that persuasive advertising is ethical in this instance.
Looking at the issue from a more fundamental angle, it is plausible to suggest that at least some forms of persuasive