We had a really interesting discussion in my Ethics of Strategic Communication class today. What started out as an analysis of “stealth marketing” techniques segued into a discussion of media literacy.
There are a number of organizations that strive to protect consumers from the adverse affects of advertising and marketing (such as the FTC), but how effective are these regulations if they only protect “reasonable” consumers of media. Who protects the unreasonable ones?
As students of media as a whole, we tend to forget that we may be more aware of the techniques used by marketers to get our attention. But in a society so saturated by marketing as ours, is it even necessary to promote media literacy? Or is it reasonable to expect a certain level of innate awareness?
My question is this: To what extent should we, as strategic communicators, be responsible for promoting an awareness of marketing and advertising techniques in young people? Is media literacy even a problem? If so, why or why not?