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Legal and Ethical Concerns of Persuasive Messages

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  • 0:02 Persuasive Messages
  • 0:49 Legal Concerns
  • 1:38 Ethical Concerns
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Persuasive messages are used to promote, advertise, advocate and inform individuals in the workplace. There are many legal and ethical concerns that need to be addressed when persuasive messages are used in a business environment.

Persuasive Messages

Healthy Juice Drinks is trying to persuade the largest store in the country (Big-Mart) to stock their product. The marketing team plans to use persuasive messages in their sales presentation in order for Big-Mart to stock their drinks. Persuasive messages are a type of communication that's used to change an individual's intentions, actions or beliefs.

The marketing team has to be particularly careful that the company's messages are both legal and ethical in order to conduct good business practices. The team's messages must not be illegal or use misleading, distorted, unmoral evidence in their claims. Let's look at the legal and ethical concerns of persuasive messages that the team has in trying to promote their new drink.

Legal Concerns

Healthy Juice Drinks' persuasive message is that their new fruit drink can help people lose weight. The team needs to make sure that their marketing and sales messages are legal, or truthful and not deceptive. In the last year, the company spent over two million dollars on a study that was conducted by a well-recognized lab. The study showed that consuming two of the drinks a day as meal replacements can lead to a loss of five pounds a month.

The FTC, or Federal Trade Commission, ensures that any persuasive corporate message is not deceptive or misleading to consumers. If a company does not comply with the FTC, they can face fines and other repercussions from the Commission. Big-Mart was impressed that Healthy Juice Drinks did conduct extensive lab tests to support their claims with excellent results.

Ethical Concerns

Another important aspect of persuasive messaging is that businesses need to ensure that their communication is ethical, or morally correct. There are some basic tenets that companies should follow when creating persuasive messages. First of all, it is important that companies do not use false information or distort evidence to support their claims. Healthy Juice's competitor, Fruity Power, claimed that their drink cured cancer. They had no evidence to support this claim and subsequently were sued by customers and fined by the FTC.

In addition, companies should not claim they are an expert in a subject area when they are not. Fruity Power had no business marketing products with claims to cure cancer when they had not retained any experts to help develop a product that could actually work.

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