Advertising and other forms of promotional activity have proliferated to such an extent that they may constitute a form of social pollution (Kitchen, 1994). The quantity and tone of communications to which consumers are exposed may have a subtle but pervasive effect on the social ecology of the developed world. Not only are Marketing Communications delivered in unprecedented quantities (Kitchen, 1994); but their tone is increasingly difficult to categorise in the Postmodern Marketing era (Brown, 1994). Notably, there has been very little research conducted on this seeming "Leviathan" (Kitchen, 1994, after Hobbes, 1651) effect. Ethical concerns of professional marketing bodies such as the MRS and CIM are focussed on the conduct of professionals with regard to law and notions of moral decency in human exchange relationships (see MRS code of conduct, ASA and IBA guidelines). There is less emphasis on the ethical implications for society of the totality of Marketing Communication activities. This paper examines the distinctively Postmodern concept of the Communications Leviathan and discusses contemporary ethical issues, drawing perspectives where possible from Postmodern critical theory, Enlightenment philosophy, cognitive psychology and classical ethical works of Plato and Aristotle.
Journal of Business Ethics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2004
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