What Women Want: Ethical Issues


Cartsonis, S., Davey, B., Matthews, G., Meyers, N., & Williams, M. (Producers) & Meyes, N. (Director). (2000, Dec 15). What Women Want [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

In the 2000 film, What Women Want, Mel Gibson plays the character of Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic ladies’ man who acquires the ability to hear women’s thoughts at any given moment. At first, Nick sees this sudden ability as a curse, but is persuaded by a psychiatrist that this is in fact an amazing gift that he should use to his ability. Taking her advice, Nick uses his new gift to get ahead at his job and take down his new boss, Darcy McGuire, by reading her thoughts and using her ideas as his own, ultimately leading to him falling in love with her and ridding himself of the gift altogether. The ethical issues of invasion of privacy and plagiarism are present themes throughout the film.

The main ethical issue present in this film is invasion of privacy. Nick uses his so-called gift to control those around them and manipulate them into thinking that he is the perfect man. He excels at work, performs better with women, and gives advice to them solely based on what they want to hear. This is an extreme invasion of privacy because he is extracting information that he would never be able to get unless the women actually said it out loud to him. Naturally, the women start to question how Nick has become so in touch with their inner thoughts, thinking that he knows them better than anyone ever could. At one point, a woman that Nick sleeps with asks him if he is gay because he is so in touch with her inner thoughts that no other man would ever be able to do what he did.

The issue of plagiarism is also present because Nick takes Darcy’s ideas as his own and uses them to get ahead of her and pitch an ad campaign to the Nike brand. When Nick’s boss starts noticing how in touch he is with his ideas he decides to fire Darcy, which makes Nick realize how wrong he was to steal her ideas in the first place. The fact that Nick admits that he was wrong to lie, steal, and manipulate others around him shows how these ethical issues have an impact on one’s morals and have an effect on what people think of your character. This movie was very well done and was able to deliver a great message in ethical issues while staying entertaining and enjoyable.

Blog #2: Bamboozled

Bamboozled [Motion picture]. (2001). United States: New Line Home Entertainment.

Directed By: Spike Lee.
Starring: Damon Wayans, Jada Pinkett Smith, & Tommy Davidson.

In the movie Bamboozled we meet a character named Pierre Delacroix, he recently graduated from Harvard and is now an executive at CNS which is a large television network. Pierre is one of the very few African Americans on staff and he starts to notice how that would effect his work and relationships. One person that he has had several issues with was his boss Mr. Dunwitty. Dunwitty always commented on how he was blacker than Pierre because he was married to a black women and had two bi-racial kids. Pierre became very frustrated with his comments because Dunwitty always stereotyped him against the black characters you see on television.

Pierre soon became sick of his boss and his work so he intended to create a script that could get him fired. He wanted to create something so controversial that there Bamboozled-2000-posterimgwas no other choice but to let him go. What he didn’t realize was that his show actually became a huge sensation and everyone seemed to love it. The show was called Mantan The New Millennium Minstrel Show and it was so controversial because there were white characters with black faces. In the end of the film these characters with the black faces start to question their identities and change their views about black culture. The main character also ends up getting kidnapped by a gang and eventually killed.

The big theme of this entire movie is the mocking and stereotyping of Black culture. Besides the black faces there are many contributing factors to the mocking of African Americans such as the many times the word “Nigger” is said throughout the film.

This film definitely raises many questions and stereotypes of African American culture. It seems on that we base our perceptions of this culture strictly through what we see on television and in the media. In the end of the film you notice that several character are bamboozled and in effect suffer severe consequences basically stating not to stereotype cultures through what we see in the media.

Photo Cred: https://www.wikipedia.org/

Case in Point Blog: Product Placement

Ian Knechtle

Case in Point Blog



Product placement in television shows and movies can be very effective, but also very damaging. They can be effective by not taking away from the story, creating brand identity, and building a relationship with the consumer. It can be a very powerful form of advertising by really pulling at the consumers desire to want something. It can be dangerous for many reasons also. These risks include taking away from the story, standing out and being a distraction, creating negative identity, and being seen as too persuasive and over the top.

There are many strong benefits to product placement that advertisers have noticed and acted upon. Product placement in television shows and movies can develop a strong relationship and devotion from the fans of that program. The fans will be drawn even more to the certain product because it reminds them of their show or movie. This can be very powerful by pulling in the fans as new and devoted consumers. Also, putting these products in films and shows can create a very positive image. This image can be built by portraying the product as something very positive that benefits the people in the movie or show. The product should definitely not stand out too hard so that it’s clear that it’s product placement, that would take away from the story and bring negativity to the product.

The negative side of product placement in television shows and movies is quite clear and damaging. As mentioned earlier, if it takes away from the story or causes a distraction that can be very negative and hurt the product. Putting a product in television and movies can be a risk by having it in an environment that is up for interpretation and can lead to a negative portrayal. Having a product present in a negative scene in a movie or show can lead to the fans not liking the product and leaning away from it. Also, ethically product placement might not be the best form of advertising. Some people see it as too persuasive and disguised. It can truly pull at emotions and change desires when done correctly and powerfully, which can be dangerous. People have started to catch on to that which has given product placement some bad light. The risks of product placement are very present and dangerous.

Overall, after weighing the risks and rewards of product placement, I would agree with it and use it if I was in advertising. Of course it has to be carried out very delicately and precisely, but the rewards outweigh the risks I believe. Product placement has made it easier for advertisers to get their messages to the audience especially in today’s world where many people skip the commercials during a television show’s break (Tanner, 2014). This new opportunity has opened doors for advertisers to reach the audience and not worry about the audience never receiving the message. Product placement can do an amazing job at connecting the audience to a product in a powerful way that will make the audience loyal to that product.

Tanner, R. (2014, September 8). Synergy Or Interference? How Product Placement In TV Shows Affects The Commercial-Break Audience. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2014/09/08/synergy-or-interference-how-product-placement-in-tv-shows-affects-the-commercial-break-audience/

Blog Post Case in Study: Dove Campaign for “Real Beauty”

Mary Sansone

What I think is wonderful about the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign is the fact they truly go out of their way to show their customers real women by reminding us that no one looks like the models on the billboards because not even the models on the billboards look like them in reality. Photoshop is used constantly in advertising. Magazines, TV ads, Internet ads have all been retouched and edited. The real beauty that exists in the world has been distorted because of the portrayal of women in the media has been brought up to such high standards of models such as Victoria’s Secret. Dove took beauty and brought it back to reality in their Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.

The Dove commercial “Evolution” from 2006 that was shared in class of the women going through extreme make-up and photoshop process was the stepping stone and eye opener to the audience of their campaign. It told the truth. Philosopher Kant explains that “Lying and acts of deception become concrete assaults on the innate dignity that we all require as humans” (Plaisance, 2014, p. 85). The media is not lying to consumers with their words, but they are lying to us with images they present, giving unrealistic representations of women and ultimately leading to women not feeling beautiful.

This campaign has been successfully continuing on for almost ten years. In 2013, Dove took advertising to the next level. They released the “Real Beauty Sketches” ad, which shows women describing their appearances to a FBI  forensic sketch artist behind a curtain. According to Nina Bahadur from the Huffington Post (2014) it became the most-viewed video ad of all time. It brought reality and emotions to the media and to their loyal customers, reminding them that they are all beautiful.

Dove also released a billboard ad of “real”, diverse women in their underwear. They are natural, realistic, and not the typical model type one would see today on the media. One of the models from the campaign said “ ‘I grep up not being happy with my body shape and size at all,’ [Gina] Crisanti told NBC News in 2005. ‘I hated being curvy. I hated having big breasts. And I hated having curly hair. In my 20s, I realized all those [ideas] were simply self-destructive. Once I started to develop an alternative definition of beauty, all of it started to fall into place.” (Bahadur, 2014).  These advertisement have made a difference to women and the rebranding idea was genis and a must. Sharon MacLeod, vice president of UNilever Norh America Personal Care and on the team behind Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign told Huffington Post “ ‘We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough. We actually have to do something to change what’s happening.’” (Bahadur, 2014). And so, the Dove team spread awareness by showing the media what is done in photoshop (the Evolution ad) and continued the idea by carrying out the campaign in multiple ads.

I have always bought Dove products, but this campaign made me respect and trust them even more. It was a great idea to really sell their product, bring attention to their brand, and gain more customers.


Bahadur, Nina. “Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Turns 10: How A Brand Tried To Change The Conversation About Female Beauty.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Jan. 2014. Retrieved from <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/dove-real-beauty-campaign-turns-10_n_4575940.html&gt;.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.

What is Dove’s message of “real” beauty?


~Photo Credit: http://www.aldedra.ro/Producatori

Dove’s intentions of their campaign advertisement were to raise women’s self-esteem and show “real” women in their “natural” beauty. “Real”.  That’s the main word that Dove uses to describe their campaign advertisement—“Campaign for real women”. What concerns me is the fact that Dove was promoting real and natural beauty and yet they had to photo-shop the real women that they portray on screen even though that is what they are trying to prove does not need to be done to make women beautiful.

Photo Credit~http://hbkcute.deviantart.com/art/Photoshop-CC-Logo-383984784

As cited in the Public Relations Society of America member Code of Ethics by Plaisance (2014) is is imperative to, “be honest and accurate in all communications” and “avoid deceptive practices” (p.74). This ethical dilemma of photo shopping the women breaks these two points in the code. I find this to be a huge issue since not only is Dove not being transparent and not living up to the campaign advertisement but they are also breaking the public relations code of ethics.

Dove is also being immorally unethical because they are owned by the company Unilever who also owns the company Axe.according to ,   “Many have pointed out for years that Dove’s message of promoting women’s body images conflicts with ads from Axe, a male-oriented toiletry brand owned by Dove’s parent company, Unilever” (pg. 2, 2013). Axe offers a completely opposite view of this campaign. The Axe campaign tells men to buy their product because women will chase after them if they wear Axe.

Transparency is all about the interaction of others according to Plaisance (2014). I find Dove’s campaign advertisement to go against transparency because it does not serve as a positive interaction for its customers. Their campaign advertisement is deceptive and is not an honest depiction of real and natural women as they claim due to the photo shop editing. The only reason that this is a huge deal is because their whole campaign is to create natural beauty and they go against this by using photo shop themselves.


Kurtzleben, D. (2013)  Do Dove and Axe Sell the Same Message?: Dove’s feel-good campaign is a lesson in the trickiness of branding. http://www.usnews.com. Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/18/unilever-faces-criticism-for-real-beauty-ad-campaign. web.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.

Blog Post #2-All the President’s Men


Coblenz, W. (Producer), & Pakula, A. J. (Director). (April 9, 1976). All the President’s Men [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Bros.

All the President’s Men is a drama/mystery film that’s based on the true story of The Watergate Scandal, the 1970s break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters of the Watergate complex in Washington, DC that President Nixon and his administration attempted to cover up. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who set out to expose the truth behind the incident and Nixon’s resignation as President.

The topic of ethics is present throughout the whole film, for the two main characters are journalists who, unknowingly at the time, live by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Although the SPJ Code of Ethics wasn’t established at the time of the incident or when the film was made, the four basic principles of it are still present throughout the movie.

The two most significant philosophies of the code of ethics that were seen in this movie were to seek the truth and report it and to be accountable. Bernstein and Woodward did nothing but try and expose the truth behind the scandal, between going over their lists of people over and over again until they got some kind of trustworthy accuracy and flying across America to meet with potential sources and witnesses about the occurrence—they never gave up. Most of their sources were however, anonymous just because many of them were too scared to reveal their true identity, so they faced some kind of difficulty in figuring out how to incorporate their significant facts into their story. When it came to being accountable, both reporters tried nothing but to be a dependable source. They did their research of finding all parties that were some way or another involved with the scandal and went straight to them identifying themselves while questioning them on the matter. By them identifying themselves before questioning shows that they are indeed accountable and trustworthy, for they weren’t trying to get information under false pretenses.

Some ethical concerns were raised in other points of the film as well. For example, when Bernstein went down to Florida for his appointment with Martin Dardis, he had to sneak into the office when Dardis’ secretary wasn’t looking because she said they had to reschedule his appointment and Bernstein knew that Dardis was indeed in his office but didn’t want to meet with him. Another ethical concern was with their biggest and most reliable source of the secret informant “Deep Throat” who happened to be one of Woodward’s sources he’s had contact with in the past. His demeanor is seen to be extremely sketchy through his nickname, the way he spoke in only metaphors and riddles of telling them to “follow the money” and how/where he chose to meet up. The most important ethical concern raised was the President himself and how he chose to cover the whole situation up of taking money for his reelection campaign.


Society of Professional Journalists. (2014). SPJ code of ethics. Nashville, Tenn. Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Blog Post 2


Sacks, D. O. (Producer), & Reitman, J. (Director). (April 14, 2006) Thank You for Smoking [Motion Picture]. USA: ContentFilm International.

Thank You for Smoking is a satirical comedy that follows the life of Big Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor. His main job is to report on the findings of Big Tobacco’s research on the link between tobacco and cancer. This “research” is funded almost solely by tobacco companies, and is basically their way of trying to prove that there’s no hard-fast scientific evidence of a correlation. Nick’s job is to spin this research in a way that paints Big Tobacco in a positive light.

The main ethical issue brought up in this film is the fact that Nick has to report on issues that aren’t actually true, and spin them in a way that people will believe. This really raises two issues, the first being that Big Tobacco is essentially lying to the public to get them to buy their product, and the second being that Nick has to lie for them and spin the truth. Nick does feel some remorse, mostly because of his 12-year-old son who looks up to him. But, Big Tobacco definitely isn’t remorseful at all. They are just doing whatever it takes to sell their products.From the tobacco farmers to cigarette manufacturers, there are literally thousands of people within an industry that want the public to stay in the dark about the dangers of their product, just so that they can make money. Although they may not technically be doing anything illegal, the fact that they aren’t being transparent is a huge ethical problem. Nick should probably feel more of a moral problem with his job than he does, but he does occasionally express some remorse. But, his job is literally to make the actual truth about tobacco sound less serious and dangerous, so that people don’t realize how bad it actually is for them. His entire job is clearly ethically corrupt, but for the most part he doesn’t seem to care because he gets a huge paycheck. At the end of the day, he clearly just doesn’t have as high of moral standards as other people.

Blog Post #2

truman_show_ver1_xlg-the-truman-show-tv-show-movie-gets-own-tv-showNiccol, A., & Weir, P. (1999). The Truman show. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures.

        The Truman show is a story and television show about a man who was bought by a corporation. Truman is the main character and is in a large dome or studio with actors playing out his every move in his everyday life. Truman has no idea that his whole life has been watched by millions of people through the 5,000 cameras in the studio.

One could say the dome or the studio is the government and Truman is a person being watched over. For example, when people found out the government was recording peoples phone calls the ethical issue was lack of privacy. Lack of privacy is a huge problem, especially in the United States. However, one of the bigger ethical issues is the thought that Truman was being watched without the consent of him. During the movie it seemed as though there was a Big Brother aspect because the directors and producers were watching over him at all times. By not getting consent from Truman at all the ethical issues result in dishonesty. It may not seem as intense watching our every move. With the Internet you could say life has become more controlled like the Truman show. You can still make your own decisions but your every click on the Internet is being watched and collected for data use or other reasons.

In an interview that takes place with the producer of The Truman Show and a news station that talks about advertising and how one thing that the show does a lot of is advertising. All the clothes that the actors are wearing are for sale. Also throughout the movie there would be advertisements and obvious acts of product placement. For example, when Truman was sitting at the dinner table and his wife Meryl says “Why don’t you let me fix you some of this Mococoa drink, all natural cocoa beans from the upper sloped of Mount Nicaragua, no artificial sweeteners.” That quote is a huge example of deceptive product placement. The ethical issue with product placement is that it is sometimes not obvious to an audience and can sometimes take advantage of an audience. Also, sometimes the products that are being advertised are not good for certain age groups which makes it unethical when tricking an audience into watching advertisements when aiming to watch a movie.

Case in Point: Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty


Many women were inspired to see the Dove campaign for real beauty, however it was not as authentic as it appeared to be. The campaign included many videos, billboards, and various other forms of advertisements to show how real everyday women are beautiful just the way they are. One of the most popular videos is available above, it shows how much a person is altered after their photo-shoot ends. Many of the videos featured in the campaign have gone viral. Dove had created a campaign for women to raise their self-esteem and the beauty of real women, however even the women in the advertisements have been Photoshopped by an expert.

Pascal Dangin is the master of photo retouching that said, “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” about the campaign. Personally I think it is very unethical to emphasize the beauty of everyday women but then use-altered images in the campaigns. When Dove promotes real beauty but doesn’t portray it in their ads they are not being transparent. I think Dove should apologize and disclose to viewers just how much Photoshop was used in their ads.I think many people actually do (or did at one time) believe these women were natural and had no retouching done at all. It is ironic that a campaign so focused on natural beauty would include Photoshopped images. No one knows for sure how much these images were altered but even altering them in anyway comprises the validity of the messaging that Dove wanted. 

The real beauty advertising campaign was created after research showed that only 2% of women around the world described themselves as beautiful. How would these women feel if they were then exposed to the campaign and told that the women used were in fact altered in some way? It’s contradictory to what the campaign is trying to show. How can you expect women to feel beautiful if you show them real women who have been Photoshopped? This campaign was suppose to be revolutionary, however Dove has not done anything different from any other advertisers. In fact I think what they did is worse than showing a perfect model, they showed these women and told viewers they were real and untouched when in reality they were not. How would this campaign be seen any differently from others if people really new how much the videos and the images had been altered.I don’t know how this would make a women feel any better about herself or begin to identify herself as beautiful.


Does Dove use Photoshop in its ‘Real Beauty’ campaign? (2014, August 8). Retrieved March 7, 2015, from https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/beauty/a/24663440/does-dove-use-photoshop-in-its-real-beauty-campaign/

Celebre, A., & Waggoner Denton, A. (n.d.). The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.in-mind.org/article/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-dove-campaign-for-real-beauty

Plaisance, P. (n.d.). Transparency. In Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (p. 85).


Transparency in a Digital World


Caytlinn Strickland

With the ever-evoloving landscape of journalism, digital has had a great impact on how subjects are reported on, and the methods used to be as transparent as possible. With a 24/7 news platform, and the immediacy of publishing articles and stories, verifying information is become a time-consuming task for journalists, oftentimes leading to false information. According to the fact-checking site, Politifact, “46 percent of the claims made by NBC and MSNBC pundits and on-air personalities have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. At FOX and Fox News Channel, that same number is 60 percent. At CNN, it’s 18 percent” (Sharockman, 2014). With so much false information being reported, transparency about these mistakes and corrections is important for these companies to keep trust from their viewers.

With the many features that come with the digital age and the continuous development of the internet, there are new ways for media outlets to stay transparent. Traditional media outlets, such as BBC and business site Quartz, are beginning to find a new way of checking their facts and keeping their information and methods transparent. Instead of waiting for their teams to check names, facts, and data, they are allowing readers to not only comment, but even correct articles online using annotations (Meade, 2014). Rather than letting the pressure of the 24/7 news cycle create mistakes, they are allowing the tools available from the internet to allow others to correct and fact check once they put their information out. In an interview with Quartz, they said, “We look at every new annotation. That’s because we want to absorb all your wisdom, respond when appropriate, and remove stuff that’s off-topic or abusive. We approve any annotation that makes a substantive contribution, and we don’t shy away from criticism” (Meade, 2014). This transparency through interactivity, has the ability to gain trust in users and readers, knowing what exact mistakes happened, and how Quartz is changing them.

Publishing information before facts and information is checked can be detrimental to a media company’s credibility, however being transparent about those mistakes can definitely help with the recovery. For example, during the Boston Marathon Bombings, the New York Post asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect by submitting photos of any who looked suspicious. This later caused the publication of an image, on the front page, of the wrong suspect, creating controversy, lack of credibility and false reporting on the Post’s part. It may be possible that if this had been published online, there could have been more of an online presence of people disputing this claim, allowing more time to fact check and make sure they had the right image of the right people. Rather than apologizing for publishing the wrong image, the Post claimed that they did not do anything wrong, they just published the image that was sent to law enforcement (“Teen Stunned,” 2013), lacking in transparency and possibly hurting credibility and trust from audiences. Plaisance explained, “Even the fact that stories of newsroom scandals now dominate the news more frequently can be considered a good thing…many news organizations have transformed that new immediacy into more loyal and attentive audiences” (p. 93). The important thing about this new method of transparency is not that there are more and more mistakes, but that the internet allows for a more open platform to share those mistakes and provide transparency to readers and audiences.


Meade, A. (2014). Digital journalists have great chance to develop much-needed transparency. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/sep/05/digital-journalists-have-great-chance-to-develop-much-needed-transparency

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Sharockman, A. (2014). Introducing: Scorecards for the tv networks. Retrieved from http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2014/jul/01/introducing-scorecards-tv-networks/

Teen stunned at portrayal as bombing suspect. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-stunned-at-portrayal-as-boston-bombing-suspect/

Image retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/life/slate_fare/2014/12/slate_s_most_commented_articles_who_comments_on_what_articles_and_why.html