Should morality guide Advertising regulation?
Listening to the discussion on 'Regulations on Advertising (on NDTV), I was surprised to find that almost all of the 'experts' on the panel seemed to agree on 'social morality' being used as the guide to dictating regulation.
I find the idea totally flawed. As long as no laws are broken, I believe all's fair! You may ask, who then regulates marketing communiques? The actions of the consumer, of course; not your, mine or society's sense of morality. What 'actions' am I talking about? Of course, consumption behaviour!
Marketing communiques must aid or abet in consumer purchases. If they don't, the marketer himself's gonna pull the plug on the communique'. Take an obscene Ad for example. Sure the, Ad may aid in brand recall but if it sows the seeds of negative attitude towards the brand due its obscene content, I can tell you, no consumer is gonna touch the brand, even with a bargepole. Piling up stocks in retail stores will then force the manufacturer to take a look at what's going wrong. When he finds its the Ad to blame, guess what's he gonna do? Throw the Ad and the Agency out.
Once again, lemme ask you, who was the regulator?
We don't need morality as a guide to regulation. Because no one knows what's moral and what isn't. And even if a society can't make up its mind on what's moral and what isn't, it scarcely matters when it comes to Marketing communiques. 'Cos the best regulator is the consumer himself. He and his consumption behaviour.
I rest my case.