An ethics of representation for international marketing
Borgerson, Janet L.
University of Exeter
International Marketing Review
This paper offers an ethical analysis of visual representation that provides criteria for and sheds light on the appropriateness dimension of marketing communications. It provides a theoretically informed framework for recognizing and understanding ethical issues in visual representation. An interdisciplinary conceptual review and analysis focuses on four representational conventions, synthesizing ethical concerns, to provide a broader context for recognizing and understanding ethical issues in marketing representation: face-ism, idealization, exoticization and exclusion. This framework is discussed and applied to marketing communications. It argues that valuations of communication appropriateness must be informed by an awareness of the ethical relationship between marketing representations and identity. It is no longer satisfactory to associate advertising solely with persuasion, rather advertising must be seen as a representational system, with pedagogical as well as strategic functions. We conclude by discussing the theoretical, research, and managerial implications that arise from an ethics of visual representation. Urges moving beyond an advertising = persuasion model to encompass representation and culture in marketing communication studies. Contributes to understanding the ethical implications of marketing communication. Challenges marketers and researchers to broaden their conception of marketing communication to one more consistent with an image economy.
Pre-print; authors' draft originally issued as working paper in 2004. Final published version available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/
International Marketing Review, Vol. 22, No. 5, 2005 , pp. 578-600(23)