Masking The Offense Summary

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The article “Masking the Offense? An Ethical View on Humor in Advertising” by Kati Förster and Cornelia Brantner of the University of Vienna and the Dresden University of Technology, respectively, examines to which extent unethical ads are less likely to be perceived as such when the ad is humorous and the ethical implications of this effect. The text was published in 2015 and it aims to attract attention on advertising ethics and its most important organization, the Advertising Council, since there hasn’t been done a lot of research on that subject. As a non-professional who didn’t know much about ethics in advertising prior to reading the article, I think the findings are very interesting and well worth heeding.

Förster and Brantner begin
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At three levels advertising ethics can be looked at: the society, the advertising industry and the practitioner. At the level of the society, professionals often criticize that ads often preserve the “existing social order” and “stereotypes” and “promote inequality”, “false values” and “problematic behavior”, even though empirical proof hasn’t been found yet. Still, researchers are certain of a negative impact of unethical ads on society. Public communication like advertising is regulated internally and by law. In many countries, self-regulatory bodies have been established. These Advertising Councils consequently have an important role in ensuring ethical advertising. Here, the problems that arise from ethical offenses and how they are faced are more explicitly illustrated. I appreciate that it enables the reader to understand the structure of ethics…show more content…
First, humor distracts the recipients from ethical violations, causing them not to find counterarguments. Second, humor puts recipients into a good mood, which makes it more likely to agree with a persuasive message. Third, humor builds a relationship to the advertiser, which decreases the visibility any unethical messages. I think it is very important that the problems of the research in this field are mentioned to make it easier for the reader to classify the current state of knowledge. Moreover, much insight to the subject is presented and well prepares the reader for the

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