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Business ethics: products and advertising

Business ethics has in some cases been referred to as an oxymoron (Collins, 1994) this means that it brings together 2 contradicting concepts. This applies that there cannot be any ethics in the world of business. However this is a misplaced definition that most businesses will want to believe in so as to eliminate their responsibilities. A better definition would define it as the study of various business activities, decisions and situations where the legal or moral of the good and the bad issues should arise (Crane and Matten, 2007)

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Some of the goods in the market are considered too harmful to be marketed due to the adverse effects they would have if misused. The possibility of these goods ending up in the hands of the wrong people also makes them impossible and morally unethical to advertise. Stringent measures should be put in place to make sure thorough research is done on the effects and consequences that would result in some of the products such as cigarettes, guns and prescription being advertised. It would be unwise to advertise guns as they pose a risk not only to the lives but also to the prevailing peace in a region. Prescription drugs and cigarettes are highly addictive and advertising them would require stringent rules and measures.

The Federal Trade Commission usually has the task of regulating advertising on the two criteria’s of deception and unfairness. An advertisement can be considered unfair when it causes unjustifiable injury to the consumer. It can also be unfair when there has been a violation of public policy. Deceptive advertising is when the information that is given by the advertisers either misleads the consumer by giving false information or it omits some information. The consumer is the one who bares the blunt of this type of advertising (Miller III).

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