Sunday, September 27, 2009


"What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising?," Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson once asked. "Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public." That quote pretty much sums up my attitude toward advertising and consumer marketing.

Over the past four years, the original Beatles studio albums were re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios and released earlier this month to coincide with the sale of the game, "The Beatles: Rock Band." EMI Group PLC says more than 2.25 million copies of the re-mastered albums were sold in just the first five days after their September 9 release.

Records were broken for most simultaneous titles in the top-selling charts by a single artist. For example, on Billboard magazine's pop catalog chart, the band had 16 titles in the top 50, including all 14 re-mastered CDs and two box sets.

Of course, now there's just two surviving Beatles to share the royalties and with the death of Michael Jackson, who had purchased the publishing rights to their catalog, there are that many fewer mouths to be fed by the profits. So we now have the re-release of the Beatle's albums, a new computer game, saturation advertising on television, and the albums displayed nationwide at Starbucks. And McCartney's even touring again, having played in Atlanta's Piedmont Park for the local big rock event of the past summer.

There's nothing unethical here - truth is being used to deceive the public.

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