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In a recent study, 60% of participants claimed that they hated most of the ads that they see online. They complained of ad quantity, dishonesty, and obtrusiveness in their daily lives. However, the ads that they did like, were for products they were already interested in.
I’m paraphrasing a little bit with the statistic but you get the point.
Are Marketing Ads Ethical?
Essentially, we hate ads unless it’s something that we want to have advertised to us.
This problem has shifted the way that we think about advertising. Rather than putting out a general ad, that most people can recognize and get on board with, we have shifted to hyper specialized ads that are targeted to the people who want to see them most.
But what happens when advertisements become too intrusive in our lives? Modern psychiatrists are baffling at negative impacts that social media is having on late millennials and early gen z.
Ethical Marketing Requires Mindful Consideration
With the rise of facebook, Instagram and Twitter in our youth, we’ve noticed a correlative spike in teen suicides, and mental health problems.
That’s not to say that marketing and ads are at fault. They just use a given platform for its intended purpose… To serve ads to consumers.
But that doesn’t absolve marketing professionals from any responsibility. To quote the most quoted quote of all quotes, with great power does come great responsibility.
Ethics Should Become a Responsibility in Marketing
Marketing professionals are already thinking deeply about how the way their ads are targeted to their consumers. Not to any fault of their own, but marketing professionals are just not concerned with making sure the mental health of their consumers is being taken care of within their advertisements.
Modern news outlets have found this a particularly hard problem to tackle with questions of journalistic ethics and modern incentivization tactics required to keep a news publication profitable.
Many modern products that advertise on social media and advertise to the newest generation, are required to stretch and manage every dime to maximize ROI in their marketing budget.
Where is the line between profit and problematic?
What kind of body standards are we encouraging our daughters to take into account when they hop on to Instagram at night? What are we telling our sons the ideal definition of manhood is every time they hop on facebook? Does Twitter help or hinder someone’s ability to manage their anxiety about the world surrounding them?
All these questions and problems that arise from social media as the newest marketing platform, gives way to a new found idea of social responsibility. And marketers aren’t the only ones responsible…
Advertisements have always existed as long as there has been a product to sell.
However the social responsibility to call out problems in the way our social fabric is woven, hasn’t always been possible to influence from your pocket.
Now that we are all complicit, we all have a implied responsibility to manage the biggest advertising ethical question mark that is ever existed.
The Ethical, Social Dillemma
In early 2021, with the documentary The Social Dilemma, I resolved to quit social media unless I knew I was maintaining a positive influence on the world.
It’s been about 2 months at this point, and I have zero social media apps on my phone. I have made a couple Facebook posts since that day, but I’ve done so from my computer and only to share uplifting photos with my family. I know that this isn’t a guaranteed ethical posting standard, because I can have no way of knowing how the way I post affects other people.
But what I do know is the less negativity that I share with the world, the less I negatively impact others lives. Consequentially I’ve noticed a healthier demeanor and perspective on life since my social media cleanse.
Let me know, do you think it’s possible to quit social media completely? Do you think it’s worth missing out on the digital social experience to maintain mental health and ethical online standards? Do you think it’s even possible to manage mental health and a positive social experience online? Is the only way to be truly ethical online, to not be online at all?
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