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Restricting Unethical Marketing in the Social Media


With some unethical practices conducted by profit-minded marketers, the perception of marketing decayed to a point where most people deal with lies, deception, or manipulation. These practices could be legal but unethical or illegal, depending on the country’s legislative system. For example, marketing targeting children can be banned in one country but allowed in another (Eagle et al., 2021). This behavior could be considered “crossing the line,” but many practices use more intricate methods. They may approach the promotional campaign through social media marketing of harmful products, distortion of truth, impractical imagery, and miscommunication of possible dangers.

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Social media allowed to connect people worldwide and opened the new possibility of exploiting vulnerable minds. Consequently, this era represents a peak in nicotine addiction among youth due to the production of flavored electronic cigarettes. The lack of regulation on this media platform led to the famous Juuls scandal. Bloggers, Instagram influences, and YouTube bloggers were often approached to collaborate on promoting Juuls products (Dorta, 2021). This way, Donny Karle, a YouTube influencer, was making video reviews of the company’s products while not disclosing that the company was paying him for review.

Moreover, one of the headlines for his video was “How to HIDE & HIT Your JUUL at SCHOOL WITHOUT Getting CAUGHT,” which targeted youth and promoted smoking habits (Dorta, 2021, p. 148). Similar instances were seen all over the internet, but little was done to limit the harm. The company promoted e-smoking as a popular lifestyle among teenagers by attracting influencers. Therefore, it is essential to hold those influencers accountable and restrict the advertisement of e-cigarettes in a similar fashion to regular cigarettes.

However, some companies continue to practice misleading advertising. This way, tobacco companies utilize their clients’ health concerns to advertise “less harmful” cigarettes (Brown et al., 2020). For example, they provide industry-funded research data which states that tar and nicotine are filtered with more efficiency in some cigarettes (Brown et al., 2020). Nonetheless, independent research identified that smokers inhale “more deeply and with more frequency,” indicating that “light,” “mild,” and “low tar,” in fact, pose the same health risks as any other type (Brown et al., 2020). Thus, people continue to deteriorate their health under the false impression of being exposed to lesser harm. Consequently, it should be essential for the government to enforce certain regulations on tobacco companies that sell their products with misleading research data, primarily by requiring an independent research institution to conduct a detailed investigation of claimed health effects of the products being advertised.

Another unethical behavior commonly seen on the market is when marketing conceals some indispensable information about the product. Thus, leading to the lack of transparency in the field and contributing to the spread of unethical practices. Among such instances is the incident caused by one of the US banks in the 90s. Bank clients were encouraged to use ATMs for cash rewards and various benefits while being discreet about the excessive fees for withdrawals (Eagle et al., 2021). These fees were written in fine print, and the information was not communicated clearly to the customer (Eagle et al., 2021). Hence, this advertisement misled them into false thinking about the free benefits.


In summary, the marketing field requires expanded sets of regulations on marketing strategies. The government should impose strict measures for companies that try to exploit advertising for manipulation, deception, and dishonest representation of their products. It is also essential to hold everyone responsible for participation in unethical advertising and its harmful effects. Moreover, if the companies do not comply with new policies, it should be necessary to revoke their licenses.


Brown, J. L., Smith, K. C., Welding, K., & Cohen, J. E. (2020). Misleading Tobacco Packaging: Moving Beyond Bans on. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 6(5), 369-378. Web.

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Dorta, K. (2021). No Ifs, Ands, or Juuls About It: Why Influencers Must Be Held Accountable. Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology, 29(2), 131-158. Web.

Eagle, L. C., Dahl, S., Pelsmacker, P. de, & Taylor, C. R. (2021). The sage handbook of marketing ethics. SAGE.

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