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Ethics of Target Marketing: Process, Product or Target?
Unformatted Document Text:  3 communicators must consider both when designing ethical campaigns. However, no previous research has analyzed the role of the method or persuasion in this ethical evaluation either individually or in combination with the product and the target. Therefore, this paper will provide a third area to consider when ethically evaluating target marketing as well as provide further insight into how the combination of a campaign’s components impacts ethical evaluations. This paper also will provide a foundation for future research regarding where ethical decision-making should begin and how advertisers, public relations practitioners, the government, citizens, and others can ethically evaluate target marketing. Drawing from classical philosophy, further research will provide some concrete guidelines for ethically evaluating target marketing. Although professional ethics codes currently exist for public relation practitioners and advertisers, these codes do not provide specific guidelines as to how ethically conscious communicators can evaluate target marketing campaigns. These codes essentially provide no guidance for professional communicators and others alike. Finally, this paper will address target marketing from a purely ethical viewpoint and will not delve into the legal world. It is acknowledged that target marketing is legal, though certain practices such as television advertising of cigarettes and alcohol as well as billboards advertising these products near schools have been regulated by the government. Rather than discussing these legal battles, however, this paper will remain within the realm of ethics and will evaluate target marketing from a purely moral stance. Throughout the discussion, the ethical standard will be avoiding harm, which has long been considered an ethical goal by philosophers such as Mill, Kant and Rawls as well as by religious texts such as the Bible and the Koran.

Authors: Fisher, Brooke A..
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communicators must consider both when designing ethical campaigns. However, no
previous research has analyzed the role of the method or persuasion in this ethical
evaluation either individually or in combination with the product and the target.
Therefore, this paper will provide a third area to consider when ethically evaluating target
marketing as well as provide further insight into how the combination of a campaign’s
components impacts ethical evaluations. This paper also will provide a foundation for
future research regarding where ethical decision-making should begin and how
advertisers, public relations practitioners, the government, citizens, and others can
ethically evaluate target marketing. Drawing from classical philosophy, further research
will provide some concrete guidelines for ethically evaluating target marketing. Although
professional ethics codes currently exist for public relation practitioners and advertisers,
these codes do not provide specific guidelines as to how ethically conscious
communicators can evaluate target marketing campaigns. These codes essentially
provide no guidance for professional communicators and others alike.
Finally, this paper will address target marketing from a purely ethical viewpoint
and will not delve into the legal world. It is acknowledged that target marketing is legal,
though certain practices such as television advertising of cigarettes and alcohol as well as
billboards advertising these products near schools have been regulated by the
government. Rather than discussing these legal battles, however, this paper will remain
within the realm of ethics and will evaluate target marketing from a purely moral stance.
Throughout the discussion, the ethical standard will be avoiding harm, which has long
been considered an ethical goal by philosophers such as Mill, Kant and Rawls as well as
by religious texts such as the Bible and the Koran.


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