9 Unethical Marketing Examples that Kill Your Business Fast

Here are some examples of unethical marketing campaigns you should avoid.

In trying to market a service or product, marketers may sometimes take dishonest or unethical decisions to gain an edge. This is what we seek to discuss.

Unfortunately, there are so many of these sharp practices being used. The problem is that there’s a thin line between ethical and unethical marketing practices.

Hence the need to properly highlight what these sharp practices are.

Spamming is the act of sending unsolicited emails to your target market or potential clients. This is a practice customers wouldn’t condone. Neither does the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Sending more than one unsolicited email to clients can attract severe sanctions on the marketer.

Spamming is an unethical marketing practice you should avoid completely. As we’ve said earlier, sometimes, you wouldn’t know when you’ve crossed the line.

Thus the need to review all your marketing activities to be in line with ethical marketing rules

  • Using Unclad Ladies to Advertise

This is a major marketing tactic used for a wide range of products. Women are used as sex symbols to even advertise unrelated products. An example of such unethical marketing practice is a car ad showing naked women.

This is similar to spamming in the sense that it is used as a tactic to attract the attention of potential car buyers.

Such models would have best been used to market a range of beauty care and cosmetic products. Instead, their inclusion in the marketing of heavy equipment, vehicles and the likes makes it an unethical marketing practice.

  • Distortion of Facts

There are growing concerns over the adoption of unethical marketing practices such as fact distortion to sell products or services. These practices are rife and growing.

Making false claims about a product or service is downright dishonest. Marketers may use this successfully for a while but will soon be found out.

This is an example of falsehood you should avoid by all means. An example of fact distortion is someone marketing an edible oil as cholesterol-free when in fact it contains cholesterol.

There are many such examples in almost every product being sold.

  • False Side-By-Side Comparisons

Before purchasing a product, a lot of people search for online reviews about that product. Now, the problem is that some marketers adopt unethical practices just to promote their products.

For example, a side-by-side comparison of a smartphone with another may be carried out. However, the aim or agenda isn’t to provide honest reviews but to promote one over the other.

The same applies to a lot of other products. The best way to sift through or identify falsehood is by viewing multiple reviews about the same product.

You should notice a trend or pattern that will help you make form an opinion about the product.

  • Courting Controversy

The world of marketing has so many examples of controversial marketing campaigns to show. In such cases, these campaigns were eventually pulled out and apologies were given.

A case in point is Bud Light’s #upforwhatever ad. This seemed like a harmless ad where a guy was willing to do just about any task because he was up for whatever.

The problem is that some critics viewed it differently. This is due to an increasing number of rape cases tied to beer intoxication. As such, Bud Light was bashed for promoting rape. It had to apologize and withdraw the ad from circulation.

This is just one example of so many which are tied to unethical marketing practices. You’ll need to make sure you exclude some of the most difficult and controversial issues in your bid to avoid a major backlash.

  • Plagiarizing Content

Plagiarism is a major problem in the world of marketing.

People and businesses wake up to find their marketing message has been copied or impinged upon. This is a major unethical practice which must be avoided at all cost. Marketing thrives on creativity.

Therefore, you might want to avoid the tag of lacking originality. You never know how far that can go.

  • Fear-Driven Marketing

It is a known fact that emotions affect buying behavior. However, this has been used negatively by marketers to invoke fear. This increase in emotional pressure has pushed clients to make unplanned purchases. There is a right way of doing this.

In other words, there should be truly an existing reason why customers should hurry to buy.

This may be due to a fast depleting stock of goods or services in addition to other reasons. Any activity that influences buyers to make irrational decisions is unethical and should be avoided.

As a buyer, you shouldn’t be pushed or influenced easily. Find out if this fear is justified.

  • Emotional Exploitation

This is similar to fear-driven marketing though a bit different. This type of unethical marketing thrives on stoking emotional feelings that will lead to a purchase. This has been used many times by lots of marketers. Being deployed often doesn’t make it right.

This is a kinda fraud that leads people to buy what they don’t need.

For instance, a marketing campaign may adopt emotional exploitation by cashing in on a major tragedy. This might be used to sell merchandise and accessories relating to such a tragic event. What qualifies it as being unethical is that proceeds don’t go to the family of victims.

Emotional exploitation is an unethical marketing practice that must be avoided at all costs.

  • Talking Bad About Rival Products

The purpose of marketing is to promote a product or service. It is never about picking on rival products by exposing weaknesses or flaws. This is an unprofessional and unethical marketing practice that should be avoided.

These unethical marketing examples have been used and still are. A good marketer should take the high road when courting for patronage. Professionally conducting your business is much more honorable than having to take short cuts.

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