Advertising and behavior control

In the text “Advertising and Behavior Control” Arrington presents an ethical tension at the heart of marketing. On the one hand it is said that advertisers manipulate the desires of consumers, forcing them to purchase products they do not want. On the other hand, advertising perhaps offers an “information” service, communicating to the consumer what is available on the market. Arrington sides with the latter argument: while advertising may be accused of playing with consumer behavior, there nothing in the essence of advertising itself which suggests that advertising is necessarily manipulative. Thus, the ethical responsibility comes down to the consumer. To put Arrington’s position somewhat coarsely: advertisers are not putting a gun to consumers’ heads, forcing them to buy things.