Ethics Of Representation For International Marketing Literature Reviews Examples
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Marketing today has become a dynamic and engaging tool, which a business can utilize to achieve its desired position. Such a tool is making sales more instantaneous through its marketing communication theories and methods such as the marketing mix. Through these, companies are able to focus on a particular market segment. From here, they can present appealing, relatable, and in turn, effective ads to their market. This is through the process of implementing a marketing plan (Kotler and Armstrong 2012).
In a marketing plan, marketers attempt to get to know the market up close through segmentation. When they get the idea of whom they would be dealing, they would lay out procedures intended to catch the market’s attention and relay messages. Although marketing has methods, such as segmentation, to achieve the targeted bottom line, there is danger in utilizing them in the creation of a representation that violates ethical code.
Borgerson and Schroeder (2004) pointed out 4 controversial marketing practices. They are face-ism, idealization, exoticization, and exclusion. These practices are taking advantage of the socio-communication theories that shape society. The cultivation theory, together with face-ism and idealization, for example, could make up for a highly glamorous society (Griffin 2012; Durham and Kellner 2006; Stewart and Kowaltzke 2007). The media shows face-ism through the display of more prominent faces on ad images. It assumes that the face represents the condition of mental health, which includes intellect and character. It consequently supposes that the more the face is shown, the more attractive the person is in the image as opposed to the one showing the body. The issue, however, is that representations are becoming gender-biased. Men’s faces are more prominent on images. They occupy the entire frames as opposed to women where neck, shoulders, and chest are also included (Konrath, Au, and Ramsey 2012; Scillis and Stahlberg 2007; Schroeder and Zwick, 2004). The premise of face-ism promises a dignified image of people. The application in marketing, however, exempts women. Unfortunately, women are reduced once again into objects of physical desires.
Meanwhile, idealization pertains to highlighting, stylizing, or glamorizing of images to construct a concept of attractiveness. Since some people -- in this case women -- would receive negative responses from face-ism, it seemed that idealization was developed to get hold of them. Through idealization, the media features bodies’ sexuality as the in thing. In this way, women would be able to think that by being sexy, they could get attention (Elliot and Elliot 2005; Hoffman 2009). Despite the manipulative tactics brought about by idealization, we infer that its function just happens to be abused. It is also effective in appeasing any probable hostilities.
Exoticization, on the other hand, creates stereotypes through the assignment of labels based on the distinct physical attributes evident on each ethnicity. Portrayals through exoticization consequently create judgments on the kind of people a particular ethnicity is. Hawaiians, for example, have been represented as having less complex lives than Euroamericans. This encouraged the rest to perceive them as nonchalant people (Sue et al 2007; Taymuree 2014).
Exclusion then complements this exoticization practice. While exoticization puts representation on people, exclusion takes away this probability in marketing (Levitas et al 2007). These two are double-edged swords. Stereotypes arguably help establish people’s varying identities from each other. Yet, when it gets out of hand, it may further fan the fires of discrimination through exclusion.
In the end, Borgerson and Schroeder (2004) encouraged marketers to be responsible in their communications because they could yield influential effects either for the better or for the worse. Upon realizing that media is indeed powerful and capable of molding a society, we agree that marketers must be considerate on the kind of society they help create. It should be noted that marketers, as well as the business people, are called to satisfy the demands of the stakeholders. For this sake, marketers must not only help get products and services to the people but they must also make sure it is what people need. Dignity is essential to people. Everyone, including marketers, must respect it instead of abusing it.
Barry, B., 1998. Social Exclusion, Social Isolation, and the Distribution of Income. London: Center for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics.
Borgerson, J. L., and Schroeder, J. E., 2004. An ethics of representation for international marketing.[online] Available at: <http://business-school.exeter.ac.uk/documents/discussion_papers/management/2004/0403.pdf> [Accessed 15 January 2015]
Chowdhury, S. A., 2008. Representation of women in advertisements. [online] Available at: <http://dspace.bracu.ac.bd/handle/10361/139>[Accessed 15 January 2015]
Durham, M. G., and Kellner, D. M., 2006. Media and cultural studies. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.
Elliot, R., and Elliot, C., 2005. idealized images of the male body in advertising: A reader-response exploration. Journal of Marketing Communications, 11(1), pp. 3-19.
Griffin, E. M. 2012. A first look at communication theory. 8th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hoffman, A. N., 2009. The beauty ideal: Unveiling harmful effects of media exposure to children. [online] Available at:<http://www.honors.umaine.edu/files/2009/07/hoffmann-2004.pdf> [Accessed 15 January 2015]
Konrath, S., Au, J., and Ramsey, L. R., 2012. Cultural differences in face-ism: Male politicians have bigger heads in more gender-equal cultures. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 00(0), pp. 1-12.
Kotler, P., and Armstrong, G. 2012. Principles of marketing. 14th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Levitas, R., Pantazis, C., Fahmy, E., Gordon, D., Lloyd, E., and Patsios, D., 2007. The multi-dimensional analysis of social exclusion. [online] Available at: <http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/6853/1/multidimensional.pdf> [Accessed 15 January 2015]
Schroeder J. E., and Zwick, D., 2004. Mirrors of masculinity: Representation and identity in advertising images. Consumption, Market and Culture, 7(1), pp. 21-52.
Scillis, U., and Stahlberg, D., 2007. The Face-ism effect in the internet differences in facial prominence of women and men. International Journal of Internet Science, 2(1), pp. 3-11.
Stewart, C., and Kowaltzke, A., 2007. Media: New Way and Meanings. 3rd ed. Queensland, Australia: John Wiley &Sons
Sue, D. W., Bucceri, J., Lin, A. I., Nadal, K. L., and Torino, G. C., 2007. Racial microaggressions and the Asian American experience. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(1), pp. 72-81.
Taymuree, Z., 2014. Self-exoticization for the film festival. [online] Available at: <http://stanford.edu/group/avicenna/cgi-bin/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/4.1-Self-Exoticization.pdf> [Accessed 15 January 2015]
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