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Tares Test: Five Principles For Ethical Persuasions

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Persuasion is defined as methods used to influence attitudes, raise awareness, educate or influence behaviors’. While ethics (moral philosophy) is a subject that primarily is not concerned with increased profits or increased visibility. It is, rather, concerned with what one ought to do—or ought not to do. Thus, it’s easy to persuade others but it will be tough when once involve by the ethics.

Ethical persuasion is the practice of influential communication that respects the dependence of the audience by presenting truthful and relevant information. It enables audiences to make voluntary, informed, rational and reflective choices.

Sherry Baker and David Martinson propose a five-part to test how ethical a persuasion should be, including methods for guiding ethical persuasion have been identified and to check and determine the ethical worthiness of the message. TARES is an acronym for Truthfulness, Authenticity, Respect, Equity and Social Relevance. Truthfulness pertains to the message of the persuader where the persuader should tell the truth and nothing more than a truth, a fact with reliable sources and should not be fall into deception. Second is authenticity which means that living in reality makes our life worth living. It compromises the integrity and personal virtue that requires the persuader should act decently, sincerity and genuineness is love the persuadees and sincerely giving assurance on the product, and loyalty and independence must engage with moral judgment. Third is respect that’s concern to one’s or overall emotion.

We humans are created with emotion and the persuader should consider that. Then fourth is equity refers to fairness, the persuader should not be step in the feelings or putting down dignity of anybody else. Moreover, it’s like applying the perception of our Creator that we are all equal and must be treated with fairness. And last is the social responsibility to which be considered and concern even a small group in the society. It’s like breaking the wall of the majority and minority. Therefore, these five principles is so essential and a necessity to apply in persuading people. There are billions of people here on earth and as AB Communication student, hopefully will be part of media world or be a public relation practitioner, I will serve people not only thinking these principles, and also to follow for me to gain credibility and in return I’ll assure that I will never do break their trust. But for now, as a student, I can simply apply the saying “Liars go to hell” and telling others a real story, nothing more and nothing less; no one will ever believe you when all your words are not reliable. Be dual perspective when someone needs my advice to avoid upset or feel being insult. And of course, none of us wants to have a bad image in our group or in anywhere else as well.

This test focus in persuasion therefore it will be suit in advertisement particularly on the fast food company commercials. One of my professors gave this case study and I find it to fit in this TARES test. In November 2003, the fast-food restaurant KFC launched a new television advertising campaign for its Original Recipe fried chicken. But it was clear that this was not just another campaign. In addition to seductive photos of piping hot chicken platters and biscuits, the ads featured provocative talk about fried chicken as particularly healthy. In one of the two ads, produced by the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, a woman arrives home and tells her husband, “Remember when we talked about eating better? Well, it starts today.” She puts a KFC bucket of fried chicken on the dining table, and a voice states that two Original Recipe chicken breasts have less fat than a Burger King Whopper. In the second ad, a second says to his friend, “is that you man? You look fantastic!” Asked about how he got slimmer, the friend says, “Eatin’ chicken.”

Critics were quick to call the ads outright lies. Complaints prompted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices advertising for deceptive practices, to investigate. Even the magazine Advertising Age, the industry’s premier trade journal, published a critical editorial calling the ads “laughable and damaging.” The FTC concluded that KFC ads were indeed misleading. The commission said that while two KFC fried chicken breasts have slightly less total fat than a Whopper, as the ad said, they also have more calories, more than three times the trans-fat and cholesterol, and more than twice the sodium of a Whopper. In a settlement with the FTC, the fast-food company agreed to stop making claims about the health value or weight loss benefits of any of its food without explicit evidence. However, some FTC officials urged tougher action, such as heavy fines. “Companies should not be allowed to benefit monetarily from this kind of deception, especially when the health and safety of consumers are compromised,” said FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour (Mayer, 2004).

The ethical issue here is that KFC’s commercial lied to the advertisement by deceiving the people by adding false information to their advertisement. KFC’s credibility is at risk since this food chain is known globally competitive. KFC do deceive to persuade people. It is such a big issue but still they come up with this commercial, not considering the feedback and outcome that they will get from this. Thus, in the first principle of TARES Test which is truthfulness, this company did very unethical. Same goes with authenticity, this ad tries to convince us that when you eat their chicken you will lose your weight and become sexy yet we know that chicken has high cholesterol. I do feel that a lack of respect was found all through this ad because when KFC really cares not only to their customer but also to all people, they will not push this ad as it will break their esteem within the company and outside the company. Respect to gain and achieved respect from others.

The equity, meaning is the reader on the same level of knowledge as the ad creator and I do not feel that this article gives that sense of equality between who is selling and who is buying. Deception is not fair besides the company do self-centered and very unreasonable. And this commercial declined the social responsibility. At very one point, they deceive people meaning they didn’t care even a little in their society. Think through the outcome and how the customer feels after they support this KFC. Therefore this case study failed the T.A.R.E.S test miserably.

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