Skip to main content
Blog

Targeted Advertising: Can It Go Too Far?

By October 25, 2012No Comments

Advertising like everything else raises serious ethical questions. Today many ethical questions surround the practice called targeted advertising.

A targeted advertisement uses Jacksonville web design or Jacksonville video production to create a commercial tailored to a particular individual. This practice raises serious questions because companies that employ it often gather information about their customers and use it to create advertisements.

A restaurant might track which meals its customers buy then hire a Jacksonville advertising agency to create targeted ads. If customer A buys a lot of steaks the agency can send him a special announcement next time steaks are the special. If customer B always orders a certain brand of beer the restaurant can send him a coupon giving her a discount on that beer next time she comes in.

Do Ethical Problems Outweigh Advantages

Targeted advertisements can build a stronger relationship with customers but it can also violate their rights. Advertisers that create targeted ads gather large amounts of data about customers some of it pretty sensitive. They also use it in an effort to connect with the customers.

There are rumors that both political parties are making an effort to have volunteers call people they know and tell them who to vote for. News reports indicate that volunteers are supplied with a lot of information about those they are contact. They might know which sports teams the person supports and which websites he visits and use it in an effort to strike up a conversation.

The problem with such efforts is that it crosses an ethical boundary. The campaigns are invading an individual’s private life with such advertising. Entrepreneurs and Jacksonville advertising agencies need to take notice of this. Targeted advertising can save a lot of money but it can also invade a customer’s private life.

Is it right to gather potentially sensitive information about a person or information given a business in confidence to create a targeted ad? Most people would say no but targeted advertising is one of the most cost effective methods. Instead of spending several thousand dollars to buy TV airtime you can send a Jacksonville video production to only those that might be interested it.

A pool fence company can send video of its latest fence to all of the pool owners in town or all those who just got permits for the construction of a new swimming pool. The pool fence company might also try to buy customer lists from swimming pool builders or pool maintenance companies. That of course creates an ethical dilemma because it involves the use of information that customers gave a customer for one purpose for another.

Are You Invading Customers’ Privacy?

There are obviously some ways to get around the dilemma. One of them is to ask customers whether they want their information shared with other businesses or with a Jacksonville advertising agency or not. Another is to give customers the option refuse targeted advertisements.

Targeted advertising raises another serious question where does privacy begin and the public sphere end? In our hectic world with people having less and less time do advertisers have the right to take more and more of that time. Does a business have the right to send a Jacksonville video production to e-mail addresses or Twitter addresses provided by customers? After all watching the video will take up the customers’ time. Businesses need to ask this question in order to respect their customers.