Explain how and when a consumer might be considered “vulnerable” to advertisers. Should the ethics of marketing to the vulnerable be considered in allowing advertisements? Why or why not?
Many situations come to my mind when a consumer might be considered as “vulnerable” to advertisers. For example children can be considered as vulnerable to many kinds of advertisements including advertisement by junk food companies who would tell them the benefits of eating the junk food but would never tell them what the disadvantages are. Marketer try to target the innocence of children in my opinion by influencing them to sell their products irrespective of the negative implications.
Consumers with health and beauty issues are also vulnerable in my opinion. For example a whitening cream has to advertise they being dark skin is bad in some way which is an ethical violation of business standards at all levels. So the people with dark skin are influenced psychologically and told that they need the product to be identified with the fair skin people.
In short advertisers would exploit any opportunity that can help them in selling more and maximizing profits. Unfortunately advertisers might do anything that is legal irrespective whether it is ethical or unethical.
I strongly believe that the ethics of marketing should be considered when advertising to vulnerable people. This would help in protecting them from the physical or psychological damage caused to them due to their vulnerability. I do think that it is the responsibility of advertisers to be cautious in this matter. Also it is the responsibility of governmental administration to ensure that vulnerable people are protected from unethical advertisement at any cost.