Advertising and Ethics

Open the website Yahoo.com and there are many types of advertisements that appear, some for car manufacturers, television shows, and prescription drugs. Today the first advertisement that displayed on Yahoo.com was for a drug called Vyvanse from a manufacturer called Shire, LLC. The advertisement states that Vyvanse helps control ADHD and shows a picture of a smiling young girl who is supposed to be a happy user of the drug. Is it possible that the drug is indeed a help for some people with ADHD but not for all? How many does it have to help in order for the manufacturer to be able to claim that it helps control ADHD? How does Shire advertise other medicines? A visit to http://www.shire.com shows more smiling happy people that are helped through many diseases by medications produced by Shire (Shire, 2013, n.p.).

Another advertisement that seems very similar but has been challenged is when Zales jewelry store advertised their diamonds as the most brilliant in the world. “Akron-based Sterling Jewelers Inc., a retailer that operates more than 1,300 stores under several brands that include Kay Jewelers and J.B. Robinson Jewelers, has sued rival Zale Corp., which operates about 1,870 stores under the Zales brand and others. Sterling says Zale’s claim that its Celebration Fire diamond is “the most brilliant diamond in the world” is false and misleading. “Fire diamonds are not the most brilliant in the world, and the research claimed to prove that Fire diamonds are the most brilliant in the world does not and cannot so prove,” Sterling alleges in the lawsuit, which was filed last Tuesday, Nov. 13, in U.S. District Court in Cleveland” (Park, 2012, p. 0003).

There is no way to react to advertising puffery or deceptive advertising since there is hardly an item that is advertised today that does not use one or the other kind of advertising. People do not react in any sort of way to advertising today. Most people see an advertisement for something and then check out reviews and comments online, so if there is some exaggeration in an advertisement but most people are still happy with the product or service that is OK, and if people are not happy with the product or service new customers will read the comments and reviews and not be duped. The discussion about ethics and advertising and how vulnerable consumers are reflects an outdated view of how consumers react to advertisements.

PARK, M. (2012). Sterling Jewelers goes to court over rival’s ‘most brilliant diamond’ claim. Crain’s Cleveland Business, 33(45), 0003.
Shire, llc. (2013). Retrieved online at: http://www.shire.com/shireplc/en/home

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