There is no such thing as Ethics in Advertising

There is no such thing as Ethics in Advertising
When John C. Maxwell published his book “There’s No Such Thing As “Business” Ethics” it was mainly about Enron a famous company that declared bankruptcy after admitting to using accounting practices that had inflated its income figures by $586 million over a four-year period. That was in late 2002, the company went belly-up, employees’ retirement savings were all but wiped out, and millions of investors lost a total of more than $60 billion. Investors were stunned. And then the questions came: How could something like this happen? Why did it happen? Who let it happen?
So it’s under stable that there are no ethics in business, but since advertising falls under business does it make it acceptable to have unethical advertisements as well? Well this depends on the company and on the perspective of the public in terms of advertisements.
For years, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been at odds in the beverage category, pushing each other forward in the race for market share, innovation, and advertising impressions. Perhaps the best illustration of this war between Pepsi and Coca Cola is when a little boy walks up to a vendor machine to buy pepsi, but he couldn’t reach the button, so he then buys two coca-cola’s, places the cans on the floor, steps on them for leverage to finally buy his pepsi can, and he does!
In Jordan similar concepts are being initiated by telecom rivals Zain Jordan and Orange Telecom. It all started with Zain Jordan’s advertisement prompting Apple Products
I thought it was an indirect humiliation to apple with a sense of humor, and I could be biased by saying so ad I am extremely disappointed with the services of Orange Telecom that has proved to be horrible in terms of Customer Service, but then again it did one way or another, “hint” that orange wasnt that good.
It wasn’t until earlier this morning that a colleague at work, shared the latest orange advert with me prompting their new IPhone!
When I first saw it, i thought it was a Zain Advert, because of the logo in the background, it wasnt until later that i spotted the orange logo in the far left corner. I personally think Orange took it to an extreme to actually using zain’s logo to go with their slogan “bedoun laf ou dawaran” and really find it unethical. It is one thing to “hint” indirectly with a sense of humor and another issue actually using your competitors logo to “directly” trash them.
In either case, the Orange concept is a good come back, but not that well executed in terms of design, at least not when comparing the amazing art work that gets executed by the art directors for Zain Jordan.
I was talking to my friend has about the unethical attempt Orange in this ad to make Zain Jordan look bad, and he imagined a concept of ZainJo retaliating to Orange’s ad by creating an advert with an angry man with a rotten orange in his hand that’s been squeezed to the max, the orange is obviously dripping juice with a creative slogan that says “Oranges are best served fresh”. In English: Orange is so out-dated
For now am just going to sit back and enjoy the “advertising” war between those two companies, am sure they are just getting started…

Director of Digital Marketing Strategy by Day, Blogger by Night. Mother to my lovely Hana and a food addict.

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  1. Let the mOst unethical .. win! 😉


    • loooool Orange supporter I guess?!

      I personally believe the most unethical advert is the one by orange as they directly used Zains logo, where as Zain mentioned orange in their apple advert indirectly 🙂

  2. It is not Zain’s logo, it is what looks like Zain’s logo. I think both were unethical, Zain using the orange fruit and and Orange using this spiral hinting at Zain’s logo.

  3. There is absolutely nothing unethical about that.

    You are talking about Zain Jordan and Orange Jordan here. Zain Jordan is part of the Zain group. First, the owners of the Zain group no longer care about Zain as they have a lot more money that they can ever imagine, and have been thinking of selling Zain. They sold all Africa branches and Middle East is coming up soon. As for Orange Jordan, it is owned by France Telecom, and I can assure you that Orange Jordan is nothing but a small fraction of France Telecom, and trust me they don’t give a damn about Jordan – hence the bad image of Orange in Jordan and terrible services.

    Anyway, let’s not forget that Orange originally gained leverage in the market as it owned all the infrastructure of landlines and internet in Jordan after the privatization of the company, and therefore gained natural monopoly. They were only lucky, because our government follows the Supply Side Policy school of thought (of course, they cut out parts that they dont like, such as lowering tax). One can argue that they are not true Supply-Siders as they were pushed to privatize the company to decrease our debts.

    Anyhow, what I wanted to say here is that to evaluate whether there is ethics with marketing or not is not to look at two companies who are tiny, and became successful due to luck and not their own hard work.

    Let’s look at the real market, where companies have GREAT services, customer service and a network that actually works where a client almost NEVER has to call in to report a problem: Verizon and AT&T in the United States.

    Verizon, is the larget network followed by AT&T. Verizon covers almost all of the United States (even small areas in the middle of nowhere), however AT&T covers 97% of the U.S population and focuses on cities and population concentrations and not small towns with only a couple of thousand living. AT&T also has the fastest 3G network.

    Now, last year they engaged in a campaign that costed millions and millions (as opposed to a few thousand in Jordan). Verizon kept bombarding everyone with ads and showing on their ad the coverage map of AT&T vs. Verizon and they refer personally to each other. AT&T gained leverage by having the best smartphone selection (exclusive iPhone, BlackBerry Bold etc…), fastest 3G and covering all large population concentrations. Verizon then started out its Droid and Android advertisements..

    Nothing wrong with that. It allows the people to actually know what’s going on (although its quite biased) and they can evaluate their options based on their needs.

  4. I can’t help but agree (pretty strongly) with Nayef. In the US companies are labeled by NAME not just by some similarly-designed logo. Other than the case of Verizon vs. AT&T, look at the car manufacturers which tout having the “best pickup truck” or the “safest sedan” or “a safER sedan than BlaBla’s sedan”. They can compare or contrast other companies as long as the facts that are stated are actually TRUE. AT&T can’t say they have the best 3G coverage when in REALITY the data proves that Verizon or Sprint has better coverage.

    Despite the fact that Zain group’s JO division is probably not their primary concern, and the fact that Orange’s JO business is probably only a small fraction of what they do abroad, neither of them wants to lose market share. In terms of competition, they’re the two big players that are battling it out. Umniah has already taken the segment which is out in the “mo7afazat” as well as the vast majority of military personnel and manual laborers, leaving Zain and Orange to battle it out for EVERYONE else. Therefore, at a time like that, if you want to talk about advertising or marketing ethics, you’ll be met with a quizzical “marketing WHAT?!”

    Whoever said “all is fair in love and war” forgot to add “and marketing” in their famous quote.

  5. content stealer!!! ana bafarjeeki I wrote that first, LOL j/k

    Zain played it nice, Orange gave free publicity. One point I want you to highlight:
    When Zain or Orange advertise for any brand using their logo, like for example when Zain creates ads for Nokia or Blackberry devices, it is required that Nokia or Blackberry approve the ads before Zain or Orange publishing them. Cool?

    I worked on this before and I know how it goes. I think someone should report that Orange ad to Apple. Apple would never approve to bash or attack another brand, because they are potential clients/markets, ex: Zain Kuwait will be selling the iPhone 4.

    So technically speaking, I don’t think they approved this ad, Team Y&R, Wunderman Jordan can get in deep shit, along with Orange for doing this. Unless Apple approved this, which means that they are ready to lose Zain as a potential partner in the Middle East.

    Zain here played it perfectly, indirect without attacking the brand directly, an Orange is a fruit 🙂 and the ad didn’t contain any devices nor sponsorship logos, smart and clean.

    • Content stealer? lol

      You know I didnt read your blog post about this till after I posted mine hahaha!

      But regardless, I must agree zain did play it nice, but orange hasn’t… 🙂

    • No one has played it nicely.

      You cannot say Orange was not “nice” but putting Zain’s logo. Thats the way it should be in a healthy competitive environment!

      However, they are both gambling with their luck. Orange does NOT have exclusivity because its the best or anything. Its LUCK. Apple could negotiate a deal tomorrow with Zain and break the whole campaign. They’re just a bunch of idiots gambling with whatever they were given due to circumstances. They HAVEN’T worked on something to earn and market themselves as. Our telecom companies are PATHETIC. They should focus on something and strongly advertise themselves with it and actually improve our prices. Although we have zero chance to negotiate subsidies with smartphone companies because no one cares about Jordan and we have no effect on this world, they could work something internally.. Again, we have no social security numbers that matter and people will find ways to get around stuff because we are a society filled with liars and unethical scammers that are lazy and would rather work to save 20 JD a month instead of work to make 100 JD’s – in Arabic “wala ishi bilba2ilna”

      AD, Sprint has bad coverage. The best 3G Technology is Verizon (they do not use 3G as they are not GSM). AT&T advertises itself as the FASTEST 3G network and best smartphone selection (until Verizon released its many Android devices)

  6. Brilliant article bro. This unique is just a totally nicely structured posting, just the important information I was hunting regarding. Cheers

  7. This is genuinely a wonderful info. An document similar to this shows precisely how greatly the concept is actually appreciated by creator.

  8. Come on guys, Zain did not only use an orange in the visual, but they also mentioned “Orange” in the headline… referring to Moey’s point, about misassociation of brands, Orange is a registered trade mark… Zain and their ad agency went too far when they mentioning orange in name. I still believe that a hint of a blurry background is yet more subtle than a headline and a orange sitting next to an apple.

  9. you should see the blackberry and Apple ad battles back in the states! Those were really creative

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