A Framework for Assessing Immorally Manipulative Marketing Tactics

Journal of Business Ethics 102 (1):97-118 (2011)
Abstract
A longstanding debate exists in both academic literature and popular culture about whether non-informative marketing tactics are manipulative. However, given that we tend to believe that some marketing tactics are manipulative and some are not, the question that marketers, their critics, and consumers need to ask themselves is that of how to actually determine whether any particular marketing tactic is manipulative and whether a given manipulative tactic is, in fact, immoral. This article proposes to operationalize criteria that can be used by marketers for making such determinations and attempts to provide some clarification toward our under- standing of the concept of manipulation and the conditions for the moral acceptability of manipulative marketing practices. It argues that a marketing tactic is manipulative if it is intended to motivate by undermining what the marketer believes is his/her audience’s normal decision-making process either by deception or by playing on a vulnerability that the marketer believes exists in his/her audience’s normal decision-making process. Such a tactic is morally objectionable on several grounds, which make it morally impermissible unless outweighed by sufficient “redemptive” moral considerations
Keywords deception  ethical decision-making  exploitation  manipulation  marketing ethics  moral framework
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-0802-4
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References found in this work BETA
The TARES Test: Five Principles for Ethical Persuasion.Sherry Baker & David Martinson - 2001 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 16 (2):148-175.
Exploitation.Allen W. Wood - 1995 - Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (2):136--158.
Persuasive Advertising, Autonomy, and the Creation of Desire.Roger Crisp - 1987 - Journal of Business Ethics 6 (5):413 - 418.
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Advertising and Behavior Control.Robert L. Arrington - 1982 - Journal of Business Ethics 1 (1):3 - 12.

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Citations of this work BETA
The Ethics of Marketing to Vulnerable Populations.David Palmer & Trevor Hedberg - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 116 (2):403-413.
Skyrms on the Possibility of Universal Deception.Don Fallis - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (2):375-397.
Irrational Advertising and Moral Autonomy.Alonso Villarán - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics.

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