Righteousness or Marketing: Where should the scale rest?

Started as a concept to share personal events, thoughts and pictures with friends and family, the evolution of social media has reached a crescendo where the private and professional have been merged to achieve marketing and sales goals. But this was stone age, given where we stand today.

From generic ‘click on this deal’ ads in the peripheral margins of the unnoticed web space to humane story feeds on Instagram and Snapchat, the marketing strategies now roam around in fresh cloaks. Firms have entered Snapchat and Instagram to forge impressions on the subconscious minds of their viewers-slash-consumers. There, hence, remains but little demarcation between what is ethically and socially just. So sorry Zomato, irrespective of all the explanations, your decision to advertise on porn sites was wrong. It was not only cringe-worthy but it also transcended that thin mesh of social responsibility that one should have as an online marketeer.

However, it would be wrong to point fingers at just one instance. Marketeers jump the gun to use a socially relevant buzzing topic to up their marketing game. The need of the hour is to take onus and responsibility of the deathly hallows that the online space is becoming in the wake of cyber terrorism. There is no need to discuss the power of internet that comes with the stripping identity under fake accounts and fake news, given that the same has become a rhetoric.

This brings us to the recent hot topic – Hindustan Unilever. While the focus of the supposed declaration is on the brand imaging of the firm, it cannot altogether be ignored as a step towards responsible marketing. “Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, does not want to advertise on platforms that don’t make a positive contribution to society,” Keith Weed (CMO, Hindustan Unilever) plans to say, according to a copy of the speech seen beforehand. Keith also plans to “call the technology industry to improve transparency and consumer trust in the area of fake news and toxic content,” writes TOI.

On the occasion of World Social Justice Day, taking heed from Hindustan Unilever, let’s vouch to promote a healthy and cohesive digital space.  Because as Peter Kropotkin, the Russian activist said, “competition is the law of jungle, but co-operation is the law of civilisation.”

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