Philosophies for Business
Philosophies for Business Introduction
Geoffrey Klempner
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Advertising Ethics
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Advertising Ethics

Advertising Ethics

"Human beings are world creators. One of the worlds that human beings have created is the world of money, commodities, trade, exchange. To me, it's a world full of beauty and ugliness in equal proportions, messy, flashy, exotic, scary. No-one who has made their home in this world would see this the way an outsider — and being a philosopher makes me by definition an outsider — can see this...

"Anyone who is serious about deconstructing the dream world of advertising should start by considering the meaning of fashion and style, not as illusions that human beings fall helplessly victim to, but as part of the scaffolding of human culture...

"Philosophers, so quick to analyse, look at an object as a mere bearer of physical properties, or as a tool with a function, or, possibly, one of those rare objects that attains the status of a 'work of art', a bearer of sheer disinterested aesthetic value.

"None of these ways of analysing an object explain why we love things. All parents know how children lust for toys. We grow up. We put away childish things. We do not lose that lust, we merely look for different things to attach ourselves to, to project our emotions onto. This is normal, not pathological behaviour...

"The stark truth is that manufacturers and advertisers are as much controlled by the fickle consumer as in control. Rules can be set down concerning what is factually truthful, decent and fair. It is not the advertiser's job to make people better than they are, or want better things than they want. That is the work for politicians and preachers, or, possibly, philosophers."

From Ethics and Advertising (2004).

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