ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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More Than Just an Annoyance?

The intimidating form and manipulative content of advertisements demand regulation and serious ethical scrutiny.

One fine morning on my commute, as I was engrossed in my reading, my phone rang from an unknown number. I answered the call only to hear a machine voice—an advertisement. A management school, with an assumed sense of benevolent responsibility, felt emboldened to inform their potential clients about an executive MBA programme. Of course, this is not to debate whether the quality of the executive MBA programme is a problem or not, like many other advertised products—like ultra-processed food or medical services—but rather, the entitlement that is intrinsic to the means adopted by its marketing managers.

Sometime back, when I met my octogenarian teacher after the COVID-19 pandemic, he was struggling to locate an email, which was apparently lost in the flood of unsolicited commercial email advertisements, even in the inbox of a paid and official email service. While I offered to help find it at that moment, his day-to-day struggle with email advertisements is difficult to overlook. Are advertisements being pushed into even official and paid email services not a form of source of annoyance to the recipients, and, in many cases, unethical? Can we demand the right to be free from such marketing instruments, exploiting our time and private means of communication? Then there is the case of advertisements covering the windows of public transport, especially blurring children’s sight from wandering into the moving horizon or the outside view while travelling. A clear-view window seat on a bus or a train is something that most people would prefer, especially children. But these are being taken over by commercial and political advertisements. Such a misplaced sense of entitlement enjoyed by commercial advertisements in public spaces is widespread, if not ubiquitous.

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Updated On : 8th Dec, 2023
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