The paper "Why the Government Should Have Authority in the Taste and Decency Component of Advertising Ethics" is an outstanding example of an essay on marketing. Snyder identifies three components of advertising ethics: truth, fairness and taste and decency. According to Snyder, there is no need for governments to be involved in regulating taste and decency in advertisements. This is because of the fact that since the ethical codes and self-regulation that define taste and decency in advertising are a reflection of the present cultural and social environment, they serve the role of defining ethically acceptable conduct and thus override the need for the government’ s regulation.
By discussing the ethical consequences of advertising, avoiding using stereotypes and developing internal guidelines, advertisers can ensure that taste and decency are observed in their marketing communication and this avoids the need for regulation. Although this assertion holds true in certain circumstances, its truth in practice remains to be verified. Recent instances of violation of ethical codes and standards have indicated that self-regulation alone cannot be depended upon to ensure taste and decency in advertising. The implication is that as much as the governmental authority is necessary to ensure that advertising satisfies the ethical components of truth and fairness, the same is true for the case of the component of taste and decency.
By comparing examples from different countries, this paper discusses the reasons as to why governments should have authority in enforcing the taste and decency component of advertising ethics. To start with, it is important to look at the general definition of ethical advertising and its related concepts. In general, ethics can be defined as a discipline that is concerned with the principles and measures of human behavior and intentions.
According to Young, ethics, which is a standard of behavior according to which individuals' actions are judged, is a subject of constant changes (33). These changes occur in the course of time, place and in accordance with the social and material development of the society in which it operates. This implies that since every particular culture has different values which are subjected to constant change as well, ethical norms vary in terms of geography and time (Schlegelmilch 92). In the context of advertising, ethical advertising entails doing what is considered by the advertisers and peers to be morally right in a given situation.
Since many rules and regulations leave a lot of leeway in defining what advertisers can and cannot do in terms of fulfilling their economic functions in society, advertising ethics combine with social responsibility to fill the gaps left by regulation (Ogilvy 54). This means that ethics and social responsibility are viewed as the moral obligation of advertisers to avoid violating economic assumptions even in a situation where there are no legal regulations requiring them not to do so.