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A Report on Advertising Laws and

Advertising Laws and Ethics

Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers,
readers or listeners) to take some action. It includes the name of a product or service and how
that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade potential customers to
purchase or to consume that particular brand. Modern advertising developed with the rise of
mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Commercial advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or
services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an
effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers. Different types
of media can be used to deliver these messages, including traditional media such as
newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor or direct mail; or new media such as
websites and text messages. Advertising may be placed by an advertising agency on behalf of
a company or other organization.

Non-commercial advertisers that spend money to advertise items other than a consumer
product or service include political parties, interest groups, religious organizations and
governmental agencies. Non-profit organizations may rely on free modes of persuasion, such
as a public service announcement.

In 2007, spending on advertising was estimated at more than $150 billion in the United
States and $385 billion worldwide. The importance of advertising is "steadily on the increase
in modern society. Just as the media of social communication themselves have enormous
influence everywhere, so advertising, using media as its vehicle, is a pervasive, powerful
force shaping attitudes and behaviour in today's world.

Effects on the Society

1. Value formation
Advertisements responsible for moulding society, material wants. The ads displaying scantily
clad female models commoditize women. And the deluge of ads that increase ones propensity
of consumption makes one feel that possessing a certain commodity is essential to show that
one belongs to the higher echelon of the society.
2. Media content
Information content of ads; the ads that suggest the use of preserved food items without a
slightest mention of the fact that many of these preservatives have been proved to have
carcinogenic effect.

3. Use of deception
The ads of brands that conceal their negative aspects. The ads of cosmetics that say nothing
about the long-term effects of regular usage of their products; the ads of the educational
institution that wrongly claim to give 100 percent placement to its students are examples of
this type.

4. Advertising targeting children and adolescents
The ads that target the vulnerability of the children and adolescents create role models whom
the kids are expected to emulate and, thus, shape their dreams and aspirations in an
unbecoming way
Advertising Ethics
Advertising ethics affects the practice of our lives and also the practice of business, in subtle
and prominent ways. Indeed, ethics in ads concern us all in one way or the other. The areas
under scrutiny of the critics are as follows:

1.Ads for health care and professional services
The slimming centres that promise miraculous weight reduction; the cosmetic surgery clinics
that assure permanent solution to beauty problems.

2. Ads for vices with fatal effects
Tobacco chewing ads, commercials of alcoholic beverages that tempts the non-alcoholics to
have a sip.
Types of Appeals
1. Use of questionable appeals
The ads that bank on fear and negative appeal like neighbour’s envy, jealousy, feud between
daughter-in-law and mother-in-law etc.
2. Stereotypical appeals
Sexual or racial stereotyping. Ads that imply that a woman, whether in kitchen or in the
boardroom, ought to look sensuous and inviting under any circumstances is a. The fairness
creams stereotype the dusky women as socially less desired for marriage.
Ethics Pitfall
Ethical pitfalls in advertising and promotional content include:

Issues over truth and honesty.

In the 1940s and 1950s, tobacco used to be advertised as promoting health. Today an
advertiser who fails to tell the truth not only offends against morality but also against the law.
However the law permits "puffery". The difference between mere puffery and fraud is a
slippery slope: "The problem... is the slippery slope by which variations on puffery can
descend fairly quickly to lies."

Taste and controversy.

The advertising of certain products may strongly offend some people while being in the
interests of others. Examples include: feminine hygiene products, haemorrhoid and
constipation medication. The advertising of condoms has become acceptable in the interests
of AIDS-prevention, but is nevertheless seen by some as promoting promiscuity. Some
companies have actually marketed themselves on the basis of controversial advertising. Sony
has also frequently attracted criticism for unethical content (portrayals of Jesus which
infuriated religious groups; racial innuendo in marketing black and white versions of its PSP
product; graffiti adverts in major US cities).

Negative advertising techniques, such as attack ads.

In negative advertising, the advertiser highlights the disadvantages of competitor products
rather than the advantages of their own. The methods are most familiar from the political

Ethical Principles Needed

• Truthfulness in advertising

• Dignity of human person

• Advertising and social Responsibility.

The design of press advertisement goes through a number of stages. However the designing
of this type of advertising follows some rules which are given below.

The basic principles of design, which can be applied to advertisements, are:

• Law of unity

• Law of variety

• Law of balance

• Law of rhythm

• Law of harmony

• Law of proportion

• Law of scale

• Law of emphasis


All parts of layout should unite to make a whole. This unity can be disturbed by an irritating
border, too many different and conflicting typefaces, badly distributed color, disproportionate
elements, or busy layout containing a confusion of parts.


Nevertheless, there should be change and contrast as with bold and medium weight of type
and good use of white space. The advertisement should not be monotonous, and grey masses
of small print need to be enlivened by subheadings. Variety can also be introduced by the use
of pictures.

It is essential that an advertisement should be well balanced. The optical balance is one third
down a space, not half way. A picture or headline may occupy one third, and the text copy
two-thirds, so achieving an optical balance. The symmetrical balance falls midway so that a
design can be divided into equal halves, quarters and so on but care should be taken not to
divide an advertisement into halves which look like separate advertisement.


Even though a printed advertisement is static it is still possible to obtain a sense of movement
so that eye is carried down and through the advertisement. A simple device is to indent
paragraphs of text (as in abook or news paper report) so that the eye is led from paragraph to
paragraph. But the general flow of the overall design should be pleasantly rhythmic.


There should be no sharp, annoying and jerky contrasts – unless perhaps that is the celebrate
intention as in some kinds of store or direct response ads which use bombastic shock tactics.
Normally, all the elements should harmonies, helping to create unity.


This applies particularly to the type sizes used for different widths of copy: the wider the
column (or measure) the larger the type size, and vice versa. A narrow advertisement needs
small text type, but a wider advertisement needs larger text type, unless the type is set in
columns. Wider columns and larger type also need greater leading (interline spacing).


Visibility depends on the scale of tones and colors, some appearing to recede, others
appearing to advance pale pastel colors recede while bold, primary colors advance. Black
looks closer to the eye than grey, and red is the most dominant color. Black on either yellow
or orange is very bold whereas white on yellow is weak. The law of scale can be used with
typographical design when headlines and subheadings are made to contrast with grey areas of
text type. Where colors are concerned, this principle can be applied whenever full color is
used in press advertisements, TV commercials, posters and packaging.


The rule here is that all emphasis is no emphasis, which occurs if too much bold type is used,
or there are too many capital letters. A sentence in upper and lower case lettering reads more
than one wholly in capital letters.

Yet emphasis is essential, and this links up with the other laws of variety and scale. An
advertisement can be made to look interesting if there is emphasis such as bold type or if
certain words are emphasized in a second color. Another form of contrast is to reverse white
on black, a method often used for logotypes and name-plates. Reverse color should not be
overdone for it tends to reduce legibility.