Online Marketing Advertisements as a Tool to Promote and Sell Products


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Ethics in Advertising


Business ethics is one of the most multifaceted and argumentative discipline in history of human being. How doing the right thing is related to making money has been studied by both academicians and business leaders over years with little agreement achieved. According to Ethic Resource Centre survey, 43% of the respondents believed their supervisors had ethical integrity deficiency. One of the questions that has been asked with regard to many business practices and has never got a contentment response is; what is the ethical way to sell? Ethical marketing seeks to promote honesty, responsibility and honesty in all advertising. One of things that renders ethics a notorious difficult discipline is because everybody has subjective judgment when it comes to questioning what is “right” and what is “wrong”. For this reason, ethical marketing is a set of guidelines to help companies as they examine new strategies of marketing. This article seeks to examine print, broadcast, online and outdoor advertisements and find an ad that I believe is questionable from an ethical perspective.

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Online advertising can be questioned from an ethical perspective

According to me, online advertising can be questioned from an ethical perspective. Online marketing entails employing internet social media such as; Facebook, tweeter, Instagram, pinterest, etc. to sell and promote products. Ethics in online social media marketing is a moral compass which should offer guidance to all marketing communications (Ray. A, n.d). For online social media marketing, an organization should be ethically responsible to be honest and truthful with regard to sales items by posting genuine details and price of items. Other significant considerations in marketing are privacy of the client; personal information and details of buying should be kept confidential and sensitive social issues of the client; considering cultural distinctions in the society (Ray. A, n.d). However, online advertising has failed to adhere to ethical considerations in various ways when used to promote to products.

How online advertising has failed to adhere to ethical considerations

Online advertising uses social media such as; Facebook, Instagram, tweeter, Google+, pinterest, etc. when promoting and selling products. However, it can be accused of violating ethical rules of marketing when it comes to privacy and data collection of customer information. There is privacy legislation, in most jurisdictions, that require an organization using online market to notify its client prior to collection of their personal information. For instance, the California Online Privacy Protection Act (OPPA) requires the organization using online marketing not to disclose; the type of information its website collect, how the information may be disseminated, and the process its clients can follow to review and vary the information it has about them (kissmetrics, n.d). However, some organizations’ online marketing has been violating this ethical rule by failing to set up a privacy policy on their website. Moreover, organizations are required to keep information about the customers they collect very safe from the hands of unauthorized people, of which some organizations have breached.

How to comply

In order comply with privacy and data collection of customer information rules; the online marketing ads should use clickwrap method, where the customer has to click the tab “I agree” to your terms of service and privacy policy (kissmetrics, n.d). This could be done especially during sign-up in order to receive marketing messages or buy on an organization’s website. On the other hand, to protect the privacy of customers when collecting their information is to ensure that the online marketing ad SSL enabled, which is usually indicated using a green lock with the word “secure” written next to link of the online marketing ad (kissmetrics, n.d). SSL means that the link between the organization’s website and the customer browser is secure when data is transmitted.

How privacy and data collection of customer information is related to market strategy

Privacy of the customers’ information should be used as guide to marketing strategies (Abramovich.G, 2013). To get a better comprehension on the role played by customer privacy in brand marketing strategies, the organization are supposed to open up and become honest with customers on how it is applying data to inform marketing and why the targeted advertising is better as compared to the “spray and pray” perspective (Abramovich.G, 2013). Once the customer is not assured of privacy of his/her information being collected, the trust to the organization product is lost, hence reducing the number of potential customer translating to poor marketing strategy. This is because some customers have tendency of balancing between value of their privacy and that of the product to be bought, of which they find that the former overrides the later.


This article has reviewed the use of online marketing ads to promote and sell products, of which it has criticized it of not complying with the ethics of marketing which requires privacy and protection of the customer’s information collected. Suggestion on how to comply with the ethical rule has been given as well as reviewing how privacy and data collection of customer information is related to market strategy.

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