Journal of Business Ethics 21 (1):49-59 (1999)
In this paper I present a moral account of the legal notion of deceptive advertising. I argue that no harmful consequences to the consumer need follow from a deceptive advertisement as such, and I suggest instead that one should focus on the consequences of permitting the practise of deceptive advertising on society as a whole. After a brief account of deceptive advertising, I move to discuss the role of the reasonable person standard in its definition. One interpretation of this standard is empirical, aiming to objectify the quality of misleadingness in the advertisement. I offer an alternative normative interpretation which aims to draw the line between the advertiser's responsibility and that of the consumer, between misleading and miscomprehension. I then examine and reject several possible moral grounds for condemning and prohibiting deceptive advertising. These include: harm, in the sense of welfare, to the misled consumer; harm to competitors; and a violation or a reduction of the consumer's autonomy. Finally, I explain how the effect of the practise of deceptive advertising on society as a whole should inform our normative line-drawing between misleading and miscomprehension, and how it provides the basis for the moral evaluation of deceptive advertising
|Keywords||Philosophy Ethics Business Education Economic Growth Management|
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Citations of this work BETA
The Media and Their Advertisers: Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in Product Coverage Decisions. [REVIEW]Diego Rinallo, Suman Basuroy, Ruhai Wu & Hyo Jin Jeon - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 114 (3):425-441.
Ethical Issues Related to the Mass Marketing of Securities.Michael P. Coyne & Janice M. Traflet - 2008 - Journal of Business Ethics 78 (1-2):193-198.
Misleading Disclosure of Pro Forma Earnings: An Empirical Examination.Gary Entwistle, Glenn Feltham & Chima Mbagwu - 2006 - Journal of Business Ethics 69 (4):355-372.
Disentangling the Effects of Perceived Deception and Anticipated Harm on Consumer Responses to Deceptive Advertising.David Boush, Robert Madrigal & Guang-Xin Xie - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 129 (2):281-293.
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