Insisting that our markets accept responsibility for their buying decisions in no way alleviates us marketers of responsibility for how we use our marketing knowledge.
The knowledge itself is neutral. Knowing that a P.S. in a sales letter pulls high readership does not make it immoral to put compelling copy points there, nor does knowing the power of limited-time incentive offers make it underhanded to use them. It is in the content of marketing that abuses can and do occur.
To be sure, much if not the majority of today's direct response marketing is forthright and honorable. But some of it resorts, if not to out-and-out lies, to the classic subterfuge of stating what is technically true in a manner that is designed to mislead. Don't believe me? Consider the number of products that makes fantastic claims in body copy — which the fly type directly contradicts. (To continue reading, click here.)