No More: Ethical Advertising

Guest Post by: Tessa Danielson

Since the invention of marketing products and ideas to mass audiences, strategy has become an integral part of mass communication. Advertising and commercial communication have evolved into a very complicated and much studied form of human interaction. With this growth and evolution of the strategy and implementation of communicating to mass audiences has come the issues of ethics and social responsibility. What do advertisers owe the public in terms of social responsibility? Should they be held accountable and be expected to follow a code of ethical conduct when it comes to communicating to large audiences? Does social responsibility even have a role in mass communication such as advertisements? Would having socially responsible communicators even make a difference in terms of society at large? B Danielson

With these questions in mind, I ask you to consider what the world could be like if the creative minds behind brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney, or Apple, created communication campaigns for ethical issues such as climate change, human trafficking, or the importance of vaccines. What could be different and what could change if the public were bombarded with strategic messages not about cars, shoes, and junk food, but about enacting social change in a responsible and ethical way? This is where No More is becoming a part of the newest step in the evolution of strategic communication: using their creative and strategic skill set in order to inform mass audiences and to call them to action. By creating a campaign focused on enacting social change, the advertisers involved with the No More campaign have stepped up and are using their skills to forward an ethical cause – regardless of whether communicators have an obligation to act according to ethical conduct or not.

The No More campaign and organization is aiming to end domestic violence by spreading awareness. No More wants to both prevent instances and support victims of domestic violence by spreading their message to mass audiences. The campaign is both strategic and creative in design and reach and has gained a lot of attention since airing a commercial on the Superbowl (a day, by the way, which is notorious for a spike in domestic abuse). By using a shocking commercial featuring a real call to the police from a woman experiencing domestic violence, No More has forwarded their campaign and used strategic communication for an ethical cause. This is the next step in the evolution of strategic mass communication.

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Whether consumers have asked for ethical conduct from advertising or not, I would be willing to bet that it soon will be demanded. It will no longer be enough to merely use ethics as a mean to create an end in the form of an advertisement. Society will soon demand that, the No More campaign and others like it, strategic communication be used as a mean to reach the end of social responsibility in brands.

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