Advertising is a highly visible business activity aimed at enticing potential customers to try new products and services. In the United States, advertising is monitored by the federal, state, and local governments, better business bureaus, the media, consumer groups, other advertisers, and the advertising industry itself – and criticized by all concerned. Overall, the common goals are to maximize the effectiveness of the commercials for the respective advertisers and minimize the negative impact on the American public. “Social responsibility” in advertising, as defined broadly in a popular textbook, involves “doing what society views as best for the welfare of people in general or for a specific community of people,” distinguishing it from the more specific term, “ethical advertising.” The latter, described as “doing what the advertiser and the advertisers believe is morally right in a given situation,” is paired in this book and others like it with a code of ethics or a list of practices condoned or condemned by the Federal Trade Commission or other regulatory agency.
Recommended CitationWood, Janice, Commentary: Applying Aristotelian rhetoric in teaching ‘social responsibility’ to advertising students, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 20, 2010, 231-238.