The paper contains a discussion of ethical issues about advertising and promotion in UAE. Various issues about open market systems and how they affect advertising and promotion have been discussed. The audience of this speech is all stakeholders in the advertising and promotion industry. A justification for the findings and conclusions made within the body of the paper will be provided to relevance to this speech. Examples of promotions and advertising in the UAE to cover the areas have been provided at the end of the paper.
Ethics in a free market
Free market economies allow free exchange of goods and services with minimal interruption by the government. Laisser-faire market conditions are ideal and cannot exist in an empirical world. Government regulations are important in any economy to protect the interests of all parties (Bonn, 1982, p. 11). Different countries have established regulations on advertising programs for products to ensure consumers and producers are protected. Regulations about advertising provide a set of laws as well as rules which should be observed when advertising products in specific regions (Koontz, 1990, p. 48). The reasons for regulating advertising are to prevent organizations from using advertising as a tool of limiting competition in the market and protecting consumers from false advertisements and misrepresentation (Shy, 1995, p. 300). Despite the right to freedom of expression provided by the constitution of UAE, several regulations have been put in place to ensure firms do not exploit consumers as well as limit cut-throat competition in the market (Oxford Business Group, 2007, 210). This paper focuses on ethical issues affecting promotion and advertising of products in UAE. The culture, social and economic systems in UAE has been discussed to explain the foundation of regulatory laws about advertising of products in the country.
The economic, cultural and social systems in UAE have been very specific on the mode of performing businesses in the country. Businesses are owned by families with political connections. This creates a network of ownership where every business unit is controlled by specific family. In addition, the role of women in business activities is minimal and this requires firms focus their promotional and advertising strategies on men, specific families and political units. To capture all stakeholders in a specific industry requires studying the culture, social systems and economic activities of different groups in the society (Obay, 2009, p. 1). .
Advertising and promotion strategies by firms operating in UAE must adhere to the social, economic and cultural systems to ensure successful marketing of products in this market. Since UAE has a conservative system of regulations such that women are not allowed to shop nor do some marketing decisions, firms should come up with advertising strategies which accommodate such social and cultural systems to avoid conflicts and maintain ethical standards about advertising (Rehman, 2007, p. 280). The Ministry of Information and Culture has put in place several regulations about the adverts placed on billboards, print media, televisions, internet and others media to ensure firms adhere to ethical standards that have been put in place. Both local and multinational firms must adhere to the regulations about advertising in the country (Rehman, 2007, p. 281).
Firms operating in UAE are required to avoid pollution of environment. All firms are required to have good corporate social responsibility by ensuring that they carry out their businesses ethically. Firms are required to sensitize all its stakeholders about the importance of maintaining a good public image. Organizations are required to protect the environment whilst promoting their products. It is important for organizations to promote and protect the environment in all their activities. The UAE government has established a set of laws to ensure employees and employers maintain ethical standards about environment protection (Obay, 2009, p. 8).
Advertisements for medical products have been of great concern in UAE in the recent past. The UAE National Media Council has warned about misleading advertisements for medical products. Unlicensed adverts have been identified being distributed by media outlets and this has been of great concern to the council. The Ministry of Health has been mandated to regulate and ensure that all adverts for healthcare products are approved before being published. Publishers of such advertisements are required to make payments for approval of such materials. As such, the licenses should contain a number, the date issued and the period of time for which a particular advertisement will be running. The place of running the adverts should also be indicated on the license. The herbal and traditional medicine has also been regulated to protect the consumers. Abu Dhabi has issued these regulations to stop the activities of unscrupulous business people since herbal and traditional medicines are still popular among a large number of people in the country (Writter, 2007, p. 1). Advertising and promotion of health products has been the most regulated of all other industries. These laws concern promotion of tobacco and alcohol prohibit advertising of these products. It is also important to note that alcohol is not sold in supermarkets or other common places but only in restaurants and bars.
The government has established laws to protect consumers from lies about products being advertised. These laws have been enacted to ensure that producers are genuine in their advertising and promotion strategies to avoid exploitation of consumers. These laws were created to ensure that adverts carry true information about the price and quality of products and brands. Establishing ethical considerations in advertisements and promotions of products are justified on the background that they help protect consumers as well as preventing unnecessary competition among firms in an industry. Adverts which target children are regulated to avoid spreading bad information to this group of people. In addition, the consumer has the right to be protected by law about the products they purchase from the market. The government has the duty to regulate the advertisement of products in the market. Professionals in different fields issue self regulation measures to ensure they safeguard the interests of all the stakeholders in a specific profession. It is ethical for all firms to follow the guidelines provided by law about advertisements and promotion of products (O’Guinn, Thomas., Allen, Chris and Semenik, 2008, p. 145).
Extensive promotions have been carried out to sensitize the people about the importance of sweet potatoes as a source of energy. These promotions have been done to reduce air pollution caused by fossil fuels (Kader & Absal, 2010). The use of sweet potatoes has also been said to have few side effects on the environment. However, the use of bio-fuels has been criticized by many people because it has been perceived to cause a major threat to food security. On the other hand, the use of bio-fuels has been said to promote hygiene compared to fossil fuels (Kader & Absal, 2010). The government has been vigilant in ensuring that adverts and promotions are genuine. Misleading adverts are discouraged, for example, promotion about pharmaceutical drugs has been highly regulated to ensure that the manufacturers and traders do not mislead the people. Bener and Al-Ketbi (2009) established that adverts about cigarette smoking should be abolished because they are causing many young people start the habit of smoking.
Advertising and promotion are important tools used by firms to promote their products. However, regulations are important to ensure that firms conduct advertisement in an ethical manner. Creating a system of ethics about promotion and advertising in UAE has been of great importance. These regulations have been based on the social, economic and cultural systems in the country. These ethics have been put in place to avoid lies and misleading information when advertising products as well as establishing a system of laws to protect the health of people, protect the environment as well as maintain the culture of the country while promoting business. The government should come up with more regulatory systems to control advertisement of products in the market to protect consumers as well as maintain ethical business processes in the country.
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