The Ethical Dilemma of Sexual Appeal in Advertising Essay example

Words: 2638
Pages: 11

Justin D. Clegg
Comms 300 Media Law
M. Driessen

The Ethical Dilemma of Sexual Appeal in Advertising

The old adage “sex-sells” is an assumption that has caused an ethical dilemma in a fast moving world filled with media consumers and advertising. The use of sexual appeal in advertising has increased dramatically in the United States within the last decade. Its misuse and pervasiveness surround us every day and elicit powerful emotions by individuals of all ages, both male and female. Sex in advertising has been around for years and continues to drive media messages in society simply because it works. Ads with sexual appeal are more attention getting, arousing and memorable. A single male college student is far more likely to
…show more content…
To find the answer to this question, we have to understand morals. Morals are the beliefs that people use as a standard to judge what is right or what is wrong. Every day we make choices and use our own individual ability to judge for ourselves what is ethical or not using our own experiences, morals and points of view. Sadly, in the world we live in today, morals aren’t enough. Moral relativism becomes a deal breaker because individuals choose their own “right and wrong” and build their own “standard scale” to fit their needs. Ethics go one step further than morals by serving as guidelines for organizations like ad agencies. Ethics create boundaries regarding what is acceptable and what is not. Attractive models on television can portray suggestiveness and nudity are standard elements of TV commercials tto target appeal and emotion. Commercial producers will even go as far as including suggestive music or audio files that portray sexuality. Sexual appeal in TV commercials involve a much higher amount of ethical controversy than print ads because of the high number of individuals that watch the commercials. One of the biggest ethical issues is the implication of advertising to children. In order to protect children from commercial exploitation, watchdog groups have formed to minimize the damage. Some of the organizations are the Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children (SCEC), American Academmy of Child and