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Can marketers spell life without a lie in it? Well, sometimes.
Imagine being emotionally manipulated into buying a product, which has been articulated to mean well and beyond that product's function, sometimes at the expense of its actual functionality.
Don't bother because it happens to us all the time, but that really makes it impossible to imagine all the people living life in peace, yeah.
If you're stealing wealth through enslavement and exploitation of a certain African nation you're Leopold II but if you steal from the poor mothers of developing African nations through unethical marketing techniques, you're a Swiss-Multinational-Food-&-Beverages-Company©.
An innocent marketing definition says that marketing is merely the action of promoting and selling products or services (like advertising and marketing research).
What they always forget to mention is that marketing does not necessarily involve ethics because to righteously sell your product when your only aim is to increase profits is very well a wasted effort.
If one of the goals is to generate revenue, it becomes the ONLY goal in this neo-capitalist society of ours.
It would be pointless to make a list of all the possible evil marketing campaigns in the world because that would mean that we have to make a list of all the marketing campaigns that exist/have existed throughout history, so instead, we tell you all the things they have in common but before doing that, we should understand why marketing exists and hence why markets exist!
In a property-owning society there arises an opportunity for exchange, but the society has a stake in ensuring the terms of exchange are fair and the limits of exchange and property are set.
So if you think that all private property-owning individuals who want to purchase components to construct a nuclear reactor so that they could benefit from environment-friendly nuclear energy from their garage just like David Hahn did, they CAN NOT (should not).
(They can do it (not legally) but it may grab attention from the FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the arrangement would have to be dismantled before they see it for themselves because for the authority such an exchange to take place is unacceptable.)
Remember that it is only the market where restrictions are imposed on the exchange of certain kinds of property or labor (labor by children for example).
Hitmen can't work freely as their jobs do not involve acceptable forms of exchange because murdering an individual in exchange for money is not just unethical but also morally wrong.
However, as a marketing strategist, it is perfectly acceptable for you to sell cars which pollute the environment, for AS LONG AS the car company is drawing sales.
You could create a marketing strategy that involves covertly selling cheap apple cider to unsuspecting members of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups across the city.
You could set a billboard right outside a school for you to sell your sugar-water to children, who do not understand that they're being manipulated for they BELIEVE that food "tastes better" when served with Sugar-Water© because children do not know what the declaration of contents on the packaging stands for and you're effectively denying them their right to choose for themselves, whether they prefer to have a non-sugar-infected life in return for a tastier lunch as they wouldn't know that sugar is bad, possibly as bad as a drug.
By the time they realize the effects that a concentrated sugar infused drink could have on their body, it's too late because the choice has already been made by your Sugar-Water©'s marketing agency for them.
But this is not the end, there are marketing techniques which are so objectively evil that it is not even up for debate anymore like spamming, lying, invasion of privacy, stereotyping, price-fixing, extinguishment, SEO Search and many more.
An example of marketing at it's worst can be seen in a business that is so villainous that even the biggest, baddest and the most gifted of supervillains could never have thought of, a pyramid.
In a pyramid there are no real products, consists of thousands of marketing executives in an order of pyramid-like hierarchy and only at the top of the pyramid someone is making enough money (of course not enough to satisfy greed) to be very very rich at the cost of the marketers at the bottom, all this without selling a single product which functions in reality.
This is how every Multi-Level Marketing firm makes money, not by rightfully selling a product that functions with the aid of advertising and authenticity but rather BY NOT SELLING PRODUCTS and stealing money by targeting vulnerable people who are desperate to succeed solely through marketing because the only interest resides in generating revenue.
But it would be cruel to only hate on MLMs for targeting a specific vulnerable group for selling their products while most seemingly ethical marketing campaigns also do it every day.
Marketing is acceptable because damaging the society in the name of a strategy could be seen as unethical by many but a crime by none.
Now, it would be wrong to say that principles of marketing don't exist and marketing strategists have no ethics to what they do and how they do it.
There exist independent advertising authorities who ensure that a system of self-control works in the general public, however, it is true to say that marketing has evil built-in because it certainly commits at least one (if not all three) of these wrongs -
1. Infringing (the buyer's) right of self-determination.
2. Harming competition.
3. Promoting the values of consumerism in society as a whole.
These violations only seem wrong from the consumer's point of view because according to the marketing executives, they are only delivering what their jobs ask them to but really, for the most part, their only interest resides in generating more income.
Marketing resembles meta-blindness in the sense that it is like being blinded about your own blindness.
It first breeds values of consumerism into the society and then convinces the consumer that it is not about the money but they just want everyone to live a better life through their products.