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Paper Analysis: "advertising and Behavior Control"

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Paper Analysis: "advertising and Behavior Control"

Business Ethics 3730

Paper Analysis: "Advertising and Behavior Control"

In this article, written by Robert J. Arrington, he compares the pros and cons of advertising and examines the ways in which advertising actually does determine consumer behavior. Arrington starts out by analyzing the arguments offered by the critics that are for advertising. He then evaluates the defense claims of why advertising is not good. Finally, Arrington gives his opinion and outlook on how he feels about advertising.

Arrington opens his article with four examples of an advertising method called puffery, which is a promotional statement that makes exaggerated claims about a product or service. Puffery is designed to achieve a very distinct effect in the consumer, and is considered to be legal. One of the examples that the author gives is of the advertisement, "A woman in Distinction Foundations is so beautiful that all other women want to kill her." The article says that the advertising firms target the hidden needs (security, oral stimulation, etc.) and desires (sexual, adventure, etc.) of the consumers to help them create there advertisements. Arrington points out that most women after seeing this advertisement would feel compelled to wear this foundation probably because they feel the need to be sexy. Ultimately, other women would be jealous of the woman wearing the foundation because of her beauty.

Advertising firms have been accused of using techniques of puffery, indirect information transfer, and subliminal advertising to manipulate and control the behavior of consumers which the articles questions as violating the consumers autonomy. According the article, the business world and the advertising industry has dismissed of manipulating human behavior through their advertisements.

One of the defenders of advertising is Theodore Levitt, a professor at Harvard Business School, who supports the practice of puffery and other techniques used to motivate consumers to buy products. Levitt says that the feeling of hope and adventure motivate people to buy products. He gives the example of a person buying an automobile. Basically, people don't just buy a car for transportation, but for the feelings of power and status that the car gives them.

The article says that the defense of advertising is that advertising is basically information which allows people to purchase what they want. Arrington states the opinion of author John Kenneth Galbraith, that the desires to which business is supposed to respond are not of the consumer, but mostly desires of the business itself. In addition, the article points out that David Braybrooke argues that even though the consumer has the final authority of what he wants to buy, he may find that he was mistaken in wanting what he did. Thus, if the consumer had more objective

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