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The Handbook of International Advertising Research by Hong Cheng

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22

Social Responsibility in International Advertising

Xiaoli Nan and Hye-Jin Paek

Social responsibility is a key aspect of advertising that has generated considerable legal and ethical debate. According to Polonsky and Hyman (2007), social responsibility in advertising requires that all stakeholders honor their obligations to one another. As such, one objective consistent with social responsibility in advertising would be to minimize the negative consequences of advertising among all stakeholders (Polonsky & Hyman, 2007). The advertising industry as a whole, however, has been critically interrogated with regard to unethical practices that may harm its stakeholders in particular and society at large. In fact, advertising has been blamed for stimulating unworthy desires, misleading the consumer, and encouraging “consumptionism” (Bishop, 1949). Persuasive advertising was accused of bypassing the intellect and reducing rationality, leading to improvident actions (Garrett, 1961). Controversial advertising practices such as using idealized imagery, advertising harmful products (e.g., alcohol, tobacco), and advertising to children have also garnered harsh criticisms (Cunningham, 1999; Hyman, Tansey, & Clark, 1994). Over the years, advertising ethics have received extensive scrutiny by scholars and practitioners alike (for a review, see Tellis & Ambler, 2007).

Another objective consistent with social responsibility in advertising would be to exert positive impact on stakeholders and society. ...

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