Gruen Planet chided over ad ethics

Gruen Planet chided over ad ethics
SHARE
THIS



The hard thing about judging comments made on highly edited TV shows like Gruen Planet, is that unless you were in the audience during filming, have access to the full tape, or can easily speak to all those who participated, you never really know what claims may be out of context, or what subsequent discussions ensued that did not make it to air.

With that proviso in mind, I found two comments made on last week's Gruen Plant (series 3, episode 1) by the MD of Pulse Marketing Lauren Fried, extremely disturbing. Firstly because of what they inferred about the ethics of marketers, advertisers and their clients, secondly because one million Australians heard these, and thirdly because they appeared to go unchallenged.

The first comment was made when discussing how the boy band One Direction had teamed up with Coles for an exclusive concert ticket promotion. Ms Fried stated "I just think any promotion is about bribery".

The online Oxford dictionary defines a bribe as an action to "dishonestly persuade (someone) to act in one’s favour by a gift of money or other inducement" and it would be reasonable to assume that for most people, this term carries an ethically negative connotation.

So given this it begs the question, in the field of marketing and advertising, is all promotion really devised and intended to be dishonest?

It's often hard to know people's true motives, and marketers, advertisers and clients are no exception, however from my experience I'd strongly suggest that for the majority of those working in and for the industry, this is simply just not the case. Certainly promotions like this are designed to act as an inducement, however I wonder if Coles would agree that their campaign was designed to bribe young people?

The second comment came when discussing GetUp's election advertisement, where it was stated that "Good advertising manipulates, and I was not at all manipulated …"

Manipulation occurs when one is trying to "control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly or unscrupulously" and "…alter or present (data) so as to mislead" (Oxford dictionary online). Psychological manipulation extends to influencing someone with the aim of changing their perception or behaviour through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. 

From a marketing ethics perspective, manipulation is normally seen as just one of four possible ways to influence people, the other three being coercion, persuasion and education. Not surprisingly, of these four, persuasion and education (including the provision of data) are normally deemed morally acceptable, whilst coercion and manipulation are not.

Given this, if we ask the question 'is advertising's main objective to influence their target market in such a way that causes them to change their opinions or their behaviour?', I think most people would answer with a categorical 'yes'. If we asked however 'should advertising be designed to manipulate?',  'should we ever deem so called good advertising as that which is designed to influence its audience via Machiavellian motives?' and 'is the majority of advertising really manipulative?', I'd suggest the answers would be no, no and no. 

Now maybe the opinions expressed on the night have been taken out of context, or maybe the words used were just poorly chosen. Maybe a vigourous discussion did ensue around the claim that all promotion is a form of bribery, or that good advertising manipulates, but I and the rest of Australia didn't see it. Or maybe I am just taking the program too seriously about being a very lighthearted, humorous, however fairly balanced examination of marketing and advertising, versus (ironically) a sound bite festival piece of entertainment.

Nevertheless, it's a pity for an industry which often struggles to establish positive brand associations within the community, and for those marketers, advertisers and clients who work diligently and ethically within it, that last Wednesday night one million Australians were presented with the apparently unchallenged perspective that for marketers and advertisers, any promotion is about bribery, and good advertising is about manipulation – when in fact this stereotype is neither always the case, nor should it need to be so.

Doug Gimesy is principal at The Framing Effect  and teaches CSR, marketing and business ethics at Monash University and the University of Melbourne.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

oOh!media Acquires Here, There & Everywhere-Owned Adshel For $570M
  • Media

oOh!media Acquires Here, There & Everywhere-Owned Adshel For $570M

oOh!media has acquired Here, There & Everywhere-owned Adshel for $570 million. The move follows a bidding war between oOh!media and APN Outdoor for the outdoor street furniture business. In April, Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) received a revised offer of $470 million from oOh!media for Adshel, however, HT&E claimed it wasn’t the “most attractive” one […]

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge

Host/Havas has secured Australia’s first grand prix award at Cannes overnight, taking out the top gong for the direct lions with its work Palau Pledge. The work, which sees all visitors to the tiny island nation have their passport stamped with a pledge to be a good environmental citizen, which they must sign before entering […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]