There are various ethical and legal issues that involve marketing to children. These issues are upheld by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Better Business Bureau (BBB). Advertising is supposed to bear truth. This is especially with the adverts that affect children. Advertisements targeting children should use simple statements and images. Moreover, they are required to observe high level of ethical behaviour. This helps to avoid situations where children become hooked to products that have negative effects on their development socially and mentally. Advertisers mainly targets children. This is simply because; children are likely to force their parents to buy a given product (Waymack, 2000). Therefore, companies create brand loyalty through advertisements that affects children in one way or another. However, it is advisable that companies target parents not children. Children are likely to develop positive attitudes towards a given product which may not the case. For example, tobacco and alcohol adverts may influence children to start consuming such products. It is unethical to advertise to children without the consent of their parents. However, when such cases occur, the law requires that the content should be ethical and according to the law requirements.
Children are an easy target for unscrupulous advertisements. Children are viewed as docile as well as non consumers of certain products. Thus, by advertising to them, firms are able to create more market for their products. Moreover, marketing should not only aim at making profit but also improvement of the social welfare. Thus, the law recommends that most advertisements should be educational and informing especially to children. Federal Trade Commission ensures that all companies abide to these legal requirements to minimize cases such as violence in children. This is mainly linked with violent-related advertisements.
Selling products such as cigarettes to children under 18 is illegal in United States. Therefore, it follows that advertisements that promote such products are not encouraged by the government agencies. The law has addressed ethical and legal issues concerning marketing to children through various means (Beder, 1998). For example, the law has made it possible to establish various firms that aim at assessing the type of advertisements are reaching the market especially those that target children (Mohandeep, 2001). Marketing issues regarding violence, sex or use of profane language is considered by law as a form of sexual violence especially when targeting children. Some products advertised may also be offensive to certain people. Nevertheless, some may be interested by such adverts. It is recommended that adverts should to satisfy the majority (Lizabeth, 2001). This implies that they should be in line with public’s taste and presence as well as needs. There are various reported cases of violations by advertisers. Some of this includes: using dishonesty and deceitful means in order to gain market share without considering those who will be affected. This has affected children in a great way as they are the most vulnerable group in the society.
There are various laws that monitor the standards of advertisements. Federal Trade Commission Act is one of the regulations that monitor the type of adverts reaching the market. This commission has the mandate of enforcing various consumer protection statues. Violations are treated as deceptive practices, therefore liable to the rule of law. In addition, consumer protection act plays critical role in enforcing both legal and ethical issues in advertisements. The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also one of the commissions that is involved in assessing advertising in the market. Some of the products advertised are risky. These commissions also have the duty to monitor the programs being marketed.
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