Media & Communication

Media & Communication Janette Tucker
Unconventional Marketing: Does Effectiveness Overshadow Ethics?

It has been widely noted in the field of advertising that traditional mass-media forms of marketing are not as effective as they once were. There are many reasons for this decline, including the invention of new technologies, the ruthless competition for consumer attention, and the skepticism of the public. In an attempt to bypass these problems, new forms of marketing are emerging. Viral, guerrilla, and stealth marketing are just three of the names given to this new movement. An emphasis has been placed on creativity and credibility, which has led to the utilization of online forums and word-of-mouth to distribute marketing messages. Although proven to be more effective in reaching target audiences, the ethics behind certain campaigns have come into question. Looking at specific case studies and ethical codes provided by the field, I attempted to analyze these practices in order to better understand where ethical lines reside in this new phenomenon. While some campaigns are clearly deceptive and dishonest, others uncover ways to ethically incorporate new strategies. The success of the latter examples illustrates unconventional marketing's ability to be innovative, profitable, and ethically sound.