What is it?
Advertising is persuasive communication through different mediums with the aim to promote or sell a product, service, or idea.
Advertising that promotes or sells these entities in a deceptive manner is unethical. Consumers cannot make informed purchasing decisions when companies withhold or provide distorted information. This is known as false advertising.
It is described as “the crime or misconduct of publishing, transmitting, or otherwise publicly circulating an advertisement containing a false, misleading, or deceptive statement, made intentionally or recklessly to promote the sale of property, goods, or services to the public.”
There are three approaches to unjust advertising, depending on if they are one or more of the following components: fraud, falsity, and misleading.
Fraud: Participating in fraudulent advertisements aim to deceive consumers. It affects decisions, but can also be positive in some instances when the product, service, or idea is more positive than what was being advertised.
Falsity: False advertising can have inconsistencies in said facts. For example, cars can be promoted for being more environmentally friendly, having lower emissions with cheat or defeat devices.
Misleading: Advertisements can be misleading, creating impressions that are untrue or inexistent, and impacting consumers’ purchasing decisions.