1. What additional information would you use to support your classmate’s connection between their research and the standards outlined by the AIGA? Cite your source(s).
Additional information is to be wary of the client-is-always-right philosophy. It is the designer’s duty to take care of the client but more specifically “it is the role of the ad agency to develop trust for the brand” (Snyder, 2011, p. 481). The client usually knows what problem they want to solve but they do not always know the solution. In the case of the Carl’s Jr. ads, the owner claims that the ads saved a lot of jobs but the fast food chain, “brought in $3.6 billion in sales in the United States last year[, 2018], down from recent years” despite understaffing restaurants and underpaying employees (Hsu, 2019). And often the ads were banned from television and cost them business. After one commercial stated women were not man enough for their burgers, it resulted in a backlash where one person commented, “I wanted to try this burger before seeing the ad. But it was before. Considering I am a female, it seems I won’t be capable of enjoying it for real, because I have ovaries” (Harris, 2014). While the ads gave the brand publicity, it did not seem to translate into sales. The client said they wanted the racy ads but what they wanted in reality was to promote sales so that they could compete with bigger chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. By always agreeing with the client the agency is sidestepping its responsibility “to be the ‘objective outsider’ advising the client, if necessary challenging long-held, tenaciously guarded perspectives and behaviors that may be operating to the client’s detriment” (Christians, Fackler, & McKee, 2017, p. 240). So, while a designer’s morals may clash with a client’s it is still the designer’s duty to bring it up because the public may have the same concerns.
2. What judgment would you make about the persuasiveness of your classmate’s statements? Explain.
The arguments utilize storytelling in an effective manner and provide a strong basis for persuasion. By integrating the hypothetical story of “Ethical Vision” from Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning it strengthens Ashley’s own argument because “researchers suggest that beliefs changed as a result of a story may even grow stronger over time” (Huber, 2017). The arguments are strong because they are based on direct quotes from sources. This could be strengthened further by including more than one quoted source to specify details. Once the reader is hooked, the middle of the story, in this case argument, can begin informing the audience by loading them with context and detail. This needs to be done carefully though because “this is the time to provide your readers with enough information to set the stage, but not so much that every aspect is revealed” (Huber, 2017). Everything would be tied up in the conclusion which is done in Ashley’s arguments.
3. How would you prioritize the 3 guidelines from the AIGA that your classmate identified as being the most important? Explain.
I would prioritize your responsibility to the client, then to the public, and then to the environment/society. It is important to do right by the client because they are the ones footing the bill. Usually though, a designer has to consider the other two in order to do right by the client. Designers have a business of working with clients to promote their message but the clients themselves also have a business that involves working with the public in a symbiotic relationship. So, if the designer angers the public with their advertisement and turns them against the client, the designer is not really doing their job. In the case with Groupon and the ad that made light of Tibetan hardships, thousands of consumers turned against them, hurting the brand’s image. The designer is meant to develop trust for the brand and that trust “cannot be built by advertising that is viewed as improper or unethical by the consumer” (Snyder, 2011, p. 481). Because of this, when designing, the designer is not working with just one party, they are working with two. The designer needs to “strive to be sensitive to cultural values and beliefs and engages in fair and balanced communication design that fosters and encourages mutual understanding” (AIGA, 2009, p. 35).
Specifically, what did you learn from this discussion assignment that you will take with you when going forward in your career as a media designer?
I learned the most from the case studies. Learning where others have failed or how others dealt with ethical issues gave me an idea of what issues I may face and how to approach them. This research also showed me how ethics are more than just doing the right thing. If a designer paints a brand as uncaring or unethical, it impacts how the public will treat it or if they will distance themselves from it. In the case I studied about the “Wal-Marting Across America” blog, it talked about the ethical implications, but it also talked about how to make up for these stumbles. It discussed how to placate the public long enough to gather information and how to create an effective apology. Since I am human, mistakes are always a possibility. So, being able to apologize and fix relations will be a useful skill to keep under my sleeve. It would also be handy with working on brands that have made stumbles in the past.
AIGA. (2009). Design Business Ethics. New York, NY: Richard Grefé, AIGA. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/47555891/Design-Business-and-Ethics#fullscreen&from_embed
Christians, C. G., Fackler, M., & McKee, K. B. (2017). Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning (10th ed.). New York ; London: Routledge, Taylor et Francis Group.
Harris, J. (2014, April 9). Carl’s Jr. thinks women can’t handle its meaty burgers in new ad. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-carls-jr-women-cant-handle-burgers-20140409-story.html
Huber, A. M. (2017, November 22). Telling the Design Story. New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from https://ce.safaribooksonline.com/book/design/9781351849210
Hsu, T. (2019, November 13). Carl’s Jr.’s Marketing Plan: Pitch Burgers, Not Sex. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/business/media/new-carls-jr-ads.html
Snyder, W. (2011). Making the Case for Enhanced Advertising Ethics. Journal of Advertising Research, 51(3), 477–483. doi: 10.2501/jar-51-3-477-483