This business activity is naturally visible; in fact, it is prone to public criticisms particularly when it did not meet consumer’s expectations and satisfactions, and when it delivered false advertising. Aside from these ethical issues, advertising is also considered to have an impact on activities of the industry and the society…
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Aside from these ethical issues, advertising is also considered to have an impact on activities of the industry and the society. According to Wolfe and Ferland (n.d.), “the goal of advertising is often to create a need, increase consumer awareness and ultimately influence consumers purchasing decisions.” It has been believed that the use of puffery in advertisement would be helpful and effective in order to build awareness and catch consumer’s attention. Puffery is vague promotional statements and claims that boost only the appeal of a product or service subjectively rather than objectively without a misleading intention that makes the advertisement immunized from regulation (Ford, 1996, p. 8). In legal aspects, false or deceptive advertisements are categorized as implied falsity, literal falsity, and puffery (Barigozzi & Peitz, 2007, p. 223). More often, puffery is not considered as deceptive advertising for it only used to indicate exaggerations, opinions, and subjective claims about product qualities, properties, claims, slogans, and many more (Hunt, 2007). Puffery becomes deceptive only if it crosses the fine line of distinction between puffery and deceptive advertising such as falsely claiming superiority that affect consumer’s choices. Literal falsity refers to statements presumed to mislead consumer’s purchasing decision rather than general statements of opinions wherein no reasonable consumers are likely to rely (Matheson, 2009). Finally, advertisements that talk about facts but there is a hidden falsity across the information is called an implied falsity. The main thrust of this paper is to discuss ethical issues and situations about false and puffery advertising that has an impact on the industry and the society as a whole. Ethical and Social Responsibility From the ethical point of view, puffery and false or deceptive advertising are viewed as important elements in consumer’s choices and value through the highest standard and accurate information that prevails in advertisements. In other words, in order for advertisements to be ethical, claims should be factually substantiated supported with empirical facts and evidences (Levinson & Godin, 1994, p. 36). Ethics in advertising is said to be an integral part of advertising itself because people who often read and see advertisements assumed that there are truths in advertising. As long as the advertisement did not imply nor literally guaranteed something in return upon promoting the product or services, the advertisement would not be considered unethical. Misrepresentations and deceptive aspects of advertising are among the common criticisms of ethics advertising. The issues take several forms and this include “using deceptive mock-ups, using untrue paid testimonials, inserting the word guarantee where nothing is guaranteed, quoting misleading prices, failing to disclose defects in a product, misleading disparaging a competitor’s goods, or simulating well-known brand names” (Velasquez, 2006). On the other hand, the deceptive aspects of advertising occurred if the conveyed information to the consumers such as the real attributes of the products or services are different from what have been advertised. In terms of social impact, criticisms are always part of advertising, sometimes it focused on the
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