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Ethics of Target Marketing: Process, Product or Target?
Unformatted Document Text:  10 pitch (which, in turn, may make them more effective). This, however, is not to imply that public relations is by definition more unethical than advertising (in fact, because of its relationship building role it may encourage more long-term ethical interactions); the present claim only is that consumers may not be able to identify public relations appeals and thus may be more vulnerable to possible adverse effects. In addition, when the advertising and public relations tactics are combined, their persuasive appeal is much stronger because they support each other by providing different benefits. For example, the advertisements encourage children to come to McDonald’s for the Happy Meal toys and the playgrounds build relationships with parents, which makes them more open to the advertising appeals and to returning to McDonald’s in the future. This analysis, however, in a sense is intuitive. It does not justly demonstrate how public relations tactics may be more subversive than advertising, and thus more ethically questionable because the products itself, McDonald’s food, is not very controversial. When the product seems relatively innocuous, ethical evaluations of the communication strategy are infrequent at best. An examination of some cases of cigarette target marketing, however, should help further highlight how public relations tactics can raise more ethical questions. Cigarettes clearly are more harmful than hamburgers and harm is the standard for ethical evaluations. More ethical attention is paid to the method of persuasion employed for the marketing of harmful products. Therefore, since the product itself can be considered unethical, differences in persuasion tactics can highlight further shades of ethical quandaries in regards to the process.

Authors: Fisher, Brooke A..
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10
pitch (which, in turn, may make them more effective). This, however, is not to imply that
public relations is by definition more unethical than advertising (in fact, because of its
relationship building role it may encourage more long-term ethical interactions); the
present claim only is that consumers may not be able to identify public relations appeals
and thus may be more vulnerable to possible adverse effects.
In addition, when the advertising and public relations tactics are combined, their
persuasive appeal is much stronger because they support each other by providing different
benefits. For example, the advertisements encourage children to come to McDonald’s for
the Happy Meal toys and the playgrounds build relationships with parents, which makes
them more open to the advertising appeals and to returning to McDonald’s in the future.
This analysis, however, in a sense is intuitive. It does not justly demonstrate how public
relations tactics may be more subversive than advertising, and thus more ethically
questionable because the products itself, McDonald’s food, is not very controversial.
When the product seems relatively innocuous, ethical evaluations of the communication
strategy are infrequent at best.
An examination of some cases of cigarette target marketing, however, should
help further highlight how public relations tactics can raise more ethical questions.
Cigarettes clearly are more harmful than hamburgers and harm is the standard for ethical
evaluations. More ethical attention is paid to the method of persuasion employed for the
marketing of harmful products. Therefore, since the product itself can be considered
unethical, differences in persuasion tactics can highlight further shades of ethical
quandaries in regards to the process.


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