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Group 2 - Magazine Advertising (Topic #3)


Discussion Topic: "Magazine advertisements are NOT beneficial to society." Discuss your position on this ethical issue with your group, and use some of the following questions to help direct the discussion.
  1. What are your position(s) and supporting arguments on this issue? 
  2. How do you evaluate, weigh and balance these arguments in establishing your positions? 
  3. What is the group's "general" position on this issue? 
  4. How would you deal with this issue in the real business world? 
For help, email allan.jeong@doit.wisc.edu

Tricks
by Susannah Erler

Did you know that the dead sea scrolls were sold via a newspaper ad? I learned this fact when I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Chicago this weekend. The thing it made me think of was this:
1. That must have been a more trusting time (in the 1950s) for someone to place a classified ad in a newspaper stating "Dead Sea Scrolls for sale."
2. If I saw that ad today I'd say "yeah right." Why? Because now-a-days there are a whole lot more tricksters placing duplicitous ads out there.
3. And that fact made me think that the self regulation of the American Marketing Association (or whatever the industry is called) is not working. That ethics code may have worked back in the 1950s (for whatever reason) but it doesn't work as well today.
4. So there needs to be some guidelines or rules on advertising that are stronger than a self-regulated ethics code.

Posted on May 15 2000, 08:57 PM
from IP address 144.92.44.76


regarding chounee's comment
by Kat Himes

Chounee said that 80% of teenagers smoke the top 3 brands in terms of advertising. However, I think that these brands are probably the brands that most people smoke. Think about it...the more revenue these companies have, the more advertising they can create. Therefore, I think that teenagers smoke these brands, because these brands are very prevalant.

I was wondering what people think about ads that have .com sites, and some of these sites are rather explicit.

Posted on May 15 2000, 12:02 PM
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regarding censorship
by Kat Himes

This is in response to Jeremy's question:

The Federal Trade Commission, as I understand it, censors all magazine advertisements that we view. That is, the comission has already censored ads they deem inappropriate. Their criteria for censoring ads is that

1) A rational individual will not find fault with the advertisement. So, the FTC assumes that we as consumers are rational and responsible. This correlates to Yaron's comment about if we can't deem the ad to be sick, then we have problems.

2) Puffery cannot be contested. That is, ads that say they are the best or are better than or provide the most can advertise this way. The criteria for puffery is that it cannot be proven true or false, and rational individuals can understand the ad.

I think that individuals should censor the ads in magazines for themselves after the FTC views ads. It would be intersting to see the ads the FTC deemed not worthy of publication.

Posted on May 13 2000, 06:09 AM
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re : censorship
by Chounhee Choi

Well..censorship,
I am basically for the freedom of expression.

B.U.T. I just want to think about somethings.

I just recieved couple of e-mails from unanimous internet magazines. and as you may guess, some adult sites.

I mean, by some ways, we are all exposed to advertising. A federal survey said that more than
80% of new teenage smokers use the top 3 advertising cigarettes. Coincidence? I don't think so. Even regulations and censorship play initial role to prevent youth from the exposure, there has been some ways.

Fundamentally, I like ads. For fun and recreation. But ads always show you what they want to tell you. Some people, young people, may not know this. and that is not thier faults.

Posted on May 14 2000, 02:33 PM
from IP address 144.92.44.76

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BRING IT ON!!!
by yaron david

i'm enjoying a lot of recent advertisements because i find them to be either tremendously insane, or very clever. the one's in the middle seem to have disappeared- which is good because they were a complete bore. why do i find recent ads entertaining? because i, and most all of us, are able to bring an analytical opinion to the table- we can interpret the ad and love it, or interpret it and agree that the ad is sick. advertising is great when you have the ability to create your own opinions about the ad. when the ad is read and not interpreted- that's when we get in trouble. let 'em adveritise, bring it on!!- if we cant realize that a particular ad is harmful, then we're probably already in trouble.

oh yah, have you guys seen the ads on tv for enterprise car rentals-- funny creative stuff.

yaron

Posted on May 10 2000, 11:36 AM
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ads as art
by Jeremy Menard

Group 2,

I agree that many ads have an aesthetic beauty or artistic quality. Both ads and art face censorship issues. The motivation for creating the ad is most likely different from the motivation for creating a piece of art, but both can face censorship. The biggest problem with censorship is determining who has the authority to censor and then determining standards for censorship. What do the rest of you think?

Jeremy

Posted on May 10 2000, 01:43 PM
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Response to bring them on and censorship...
by Ram Muthiayah

Although, Yaron's take on advertising was very interesting and had a different perspective, I feel that his logic sounds good only for mature adults who are capable of making decision on their own. But what about children. They are still young and cannot make proper decisions yet and advertizing affects them more than anbody else. I too feel that advertising is helpful but there is no way that we can get advertisemtns to be viewed by only adults.

What do other think...

Posted on May 10 2000, 02:08 PM
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correct
by yaron david

Ram, you're absolutely correct. i found that the discussions were starting to dry up so i was just trying to water them a bit. i agree with you, and i thank you for your reply.

Posted on May 10 2000, 07:50 PM
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Who's Reading the Magazines
by Anonymous

I want to add to Ram's point about "there is no way we can get ads to be viewed by only adults."

I was surprised no one in the groups mentioned the fact that circulation numbers are only part of the picture when advertisers (say Trek Bikes)decide which magazine to advertise in (like Rolling Stone). The real number advertisers are concerned about are Impressions.

Circulation x # of people who read = Impressions

For instance, if Rolling Stone's circulation is 1,000,000, the number of people who read the magazine is much higher, say 2 to 3 times. This is common accross most magazines.

The bottom line is that magazines are not just read by the people who are being targeted. Therefore, we need to consider the possible side effects.

Posted on May 11 2000, 01:54 PM
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oops...Who's Reading was by me...
by David Allen

Posted on May 11 2000, 01:55 PM
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comment
by Kat Himes

I agree with Jeremy, in that there is a social responsbility on behalf of both the magazine publisher and the advertiser. I forgot to mention one thing during the rebuttal as to the other team's comment about magazine advertisements causing stereotyping. Interestingly, my group found a statistic about Rolling Stone magazine. One would think that Rolling Stone would contain ads for music accessories, such as CDs and CD players, etc. However, the demographic of Rolling Stone readers is one of extreme sports fanatics--skiers, bikers, etc. Therefore, Rolling Stone chooses advertisements for downhill skis, mountain bikes, etc.

One other point: the opposing team argued that not-for-profit ads do not appear in magazines, because the not-for-profit would have to pay the magazine to place their ad. To get around this, many not-for-profits have teamed up with major companies. For example, certain alcohol ads carry the message of MADD.

One thing that displeases me is that so much of magazines are advertisements. It seems that soon we may have all advertisements and no magazine articles!

Posted on May 10 2000, 07:06 AM
from IP address 144.92.44.76


Too many ads
by Jeremy Menard

Group 2,

Kat reiterated one of the points that our group had mentioned in the rebuttal. The point was that for publishers to grow business, they have to increase the number of ads in their publications. The problem is that the total number of pages in the magazine are not increased. So ads are taking the place of articles. Every category of magazine listed in MediaWeek had a large cumulative increase since last year (some are carrying 50% more ads this year than last year). On the flip side, there are people who actually get magazines to look at the ads. I think this depends on the type of magazine to a great extent.

Jeremy

Posted on May 10 2000, 01:38 PM
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Advertisers don't have a social responsibility
by David Allen

We as consumers are showing through our actions that ads are good for society. The reason the number of ads have gone up is because the number of people reading the magazines have increased. If we didn't support the ads by buying magazines that are mostly ads, then advertisers would not advertise (spend money) in these publications.

It seems to me we are saying that ads are beneficial to us, be it for fun, for information, etc.

I guess I'm not sure why we should be treating magazines any differently from another business. The mission of the business is to generate profits for stakeholders. If the public supports the ads with their money, then this must mean the public views the publishers as acting in their best interests.

How many of us agree that the purpose of business is to increase profits?

Posted on May 11 2000, 02:14 PM
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Rebuttal
by David Allen

While I believe that the responsibility of business is to profit, this is in the context of our current free market system.

I do think we can set guidlines as a society that levels the market playing field to address our ethical concerns. (Such as standards for disseminating accurate information via magazine ads.)

What I'm suggesting is that proponents of the Friedman philosophy (me included), fail to consider that the market equilibrium is somewhat flawed. If our market is based on flawed ethics, then it would be wrong to argue that consumer demand reflects what is good for society (like magazine ads).

What do you think?

Posted on May 11 2000, 02:23 PM
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Debate vs. Reality
by Jeremy Menard

Although for today's debate our team had to take the stand that print advertising is not beneficial to society, my opinion is that each ad should be evaluated on its own merits. It is important for businesses to take a look at both their profitability and the effects of their actions. Social responsibility should not be ignored. I guess the issue to be debated is how much censorship, if any, should be used.

Jeremy

Posted on May 09 2000, 03:31 PM
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Our Youth
by Christina Waskan

I think you are right, Jeremy. We should all exercise our own judgement when viewing advertising ads. What worries me is our youth and the fact that they are so easily influenced. Parents should play an active role in their children's lives so that they may exercise more influence on their actions and behaviors than any ad can.

Posted on May 11 2000, 05:15 PM
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