This paper seeks to debate that marketing towards children is unethical as it is manipulated and overly-focused on their hedonistic responses, ultimately not benefiting society, as against being ethical as it serves their needs and benefits society. It will also discuss the various practices associated with marketing towards children and determine if or when it is an effective and appropriate method in our holistic marketing approach.
What is Ethical Behavior?
According to Schermerhorn John R. Jr., Author of Management, 7th Ed. (p. 146), “ethics can be defined as the code of moral principles that sets standards of good or bad, or right or wrong, in one’s conduct and thereby guides the behaviour of a person or group. Ethics provide principles to guide behaviour and help people make moral choices among alternative courses of action. In practice, ethical behaviour is that which is accepted to be ‘good’ and ‘right’ as opposed to ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ in the context of the governing moral code.”
Good or bad, right or wrong is debatable as people can use any argument to justify the reason a position is taken. As a parent, I think that marketing towards children is unethical for various reasons. One such is that it influences some children to be manipulative and become decision-makers. Solomon et al (2006:143), states that “marketers who are concerned with understanding consumers’ attitudes have to contend with an even more complex issue: in decision-making situations, people form attitudes towards objects other than the product itself that can influence their ultimate selections”. With this type of approach towards adults, one can be convinced that much more emphasis should be placed on how marketing is skewed towards children as they have a more aggressive approach towards selection /buying.
Every marketer knows that children are inherently not decision-makers or income-generators. They are also aware that they tend to be very superficial consumers with the...