Ethics in advertising: Differences in industry values and student perceptions


In business, unethical activities not only create a negative view of the corporation but also affect corporate profitability, co-worker relationships, and employee job performance and satisfaction. As future executives and employees, the ethical views held by college students will impact advertising corporate culture. In this study, ethical perceptions and the perceived likelihood to engage in 20 unethical activities were examined from both the advertising professional and student perspectives. The relationship of gender and length of employment in advertising were also examined. Results of the study indicate that advertising professionals agree more strongly than students that ethical behavior is important in advertising. Further, students were more likely to engage in unethical advertising activities than agency personnel. It was also determined that female students held stronger ethical views than did male students. For agency personnel, the longer males were employed in advertising agencies the more important they perceived ethical behavior and the less likely they were to engage in unethical activities. This study provides insights for firms and researchers interested in assessing the ethical views of advertising professionals and students and in designing mentoring and training programs for future advertising employees.

Document Type



Advertising ethics, Ethics of advertising professionals, Ethics of students, Gender and advertising ethics, Length of employment and advertising ethics

Publication Date


Journal Title

Academy of Marketing Studies Journal