Paper Example on Stealth Marketing

Paper Type:  Report
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1764 Words
Date:  2022-09-15


Stealth marketing is a deceptive approach to marketing where organizations and individual targets consumers indirectly without claiming they are advertising the product they are associated with according to Vavra (1999). Stealth marketing is increasingly becoming a norm for many organizations which use celebrities and essential events through sponsorship or by paying participants to showcase their brands without claiming they are being paid for such actions (Berdik, 2005). Such techniques convince unknowing consumers and end up using the products courtesy of the person who they see use the product (Katyal, 2010). Mobile phone and camera manufacturers use stealth marketing approach to introduce their products by using famous people who pretend to be normal tourists or businessmen. Through normal interactions with people in society using the product, people develop interest and liking of the products which leads to an actual sale. However, despite looking like the right approach to marketing, there are many ethical questions raised regarding the issue of integrity because many view the advertising approach as deceptive (Rotfeld, 2008). This paper will assess the ethical standing of stealth marketing by applying different ethical frameworks to create an ethically informed conclusion on the morality of stealth marketing.

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Facts of Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is very successful because it targets consumers indirectly using actual product users which is more convincing compared to other forms of marketing. Stealth marketing is preferred today by many businesses especially those producing consumer goods due to the quick results and the less effort required to make a product sell using stealth marketing. Many companies prefer to use stealth marketing because it is more practical and can take advantage of the popular culture and celebrities to get to the consumers easily and quickly. Today, products are tailored for specific markets, and the use of stealth marketing is easy because different personalities represent different social groups based on appeal and business organizations and manufacturers can easily reach the target consumers using celebrities without having to hire expensive advertisement airtime in mass media companies (Katyal, 2010). In most cases, the advertisement cost is passed on to the consumers through the product price and evading expensive advertisements can help businesses to sell products at relatively low prices.

Most consumers are not aware of stealth marketing because it is highly deceptive and elusive. Businesses are crafty and can be able to conceal their marketing orientation when they use celebrities and events to market their products by failing to claim responsibility for the advertisements (Berdik, 2005). In this case, the personalities and stealth marketers used to market products claim independence in their actions and does not associate the organization paying them to wear or use their products. Many consumers are swayed by celebrities, and the use of celebrities increases consumer attraction and desire of the products (Rotfeld, 2008). Consumers can easily be persuaded to buy substandard or harmful products due to appeal because the producers pay celebrities to showcase their products or identify with a particular brand.

Many celebrities today are readily being associated with brands without being actual ambassadors or official marketing campaigns to get kickbacks from the businesses. Celebrities represent a brand today with many people following both in social media and attending real shows. Social media has made it easy for celebrities to showcase their experience using certain products such as high-end Rolex watches and vehicles which stimulate demand and in return are given certain benefits or payments by organizations. As such, there is a need to regulate marketing further to reduce stealth marketing which can be misleading to the consumers. Organizations should be responsible for any information regarding their products to ensure that brands and products are advertised in accordance with the law and contain the consent of the manufacturers or businesses.

Stealth marketing is taking a new shape with businesses using fake news and media to appeal to consumers and influence their decision-making process. Fake media involve showcasing information with positive experiences of a particular product or company without directly giving credit to the company but at the same time being paid by the company for such media (Berdik, 2005). On the other hand, fake controversy uses dramatic stories and events to create attention and stir the emotions of the public through social media and news channels (Katyal, 2010). For instance, a controversial product can be highlighted in social media or news channels only to act as a public relations or marketing approach to gain more consumer attention towards the product. Businesses are getting more creative in terms of stealth marketing oblivious of the ethical issue in the marketing approach. Stealth marketing uses sex appeal which can easily be used especially in social media by using celebrities and artists with high sex appeal to create brand appeal. At the same time, stealth marketing highly exaggerates the content and uses controversy which is unethical (Berdik, 2005). Stealth marketing is only concerned with the benefits that an organization stands to gain and not the benefits that the consumers will gain.

Ethical Issue

The primary ethical issue in stealth marketing is lack of integrity compared to other marketing approaches which the consumer can quickly identify and make a decision knowing that it is an actual advertisement. Stealth marketing activities are deceptive in nature in that many consumers are not aware that they are a form of marketing. Consumers today in social media and the society are exposed to messages that are actually marketing schemes, but the manufacturers and business organizations do not claim the messages which make them believe that they are genuine lifestyles of their favorite celebrities and television personalities. As such, this is unethical because it is deceptive in nature and the consumers are not given a chance to decide from the advertisement point of view when they buy the product. In a survey, a majority of participants indicated that a significant number of people are against stealth marketing because they feel cheated, deceived or unfairly treated and instead argues that they should be told initially that it is a form of marketing (McKinley, 2012). Therefore, as long as marketers and business organizations do not take responsibility for a marketing activity as a form of marketing makes stealth marketing an ethical issue.

Stakeholders Identification

In stealth marketing, the primary stakeholders are the government and regulating agencies, the consumers, the business entities, media houses, and celebrities.

The Government

The government is a stakeholder in stealth marketing because the government is responsible for protecting consumers from deceitful manufacturers. In this case, stealth marketing is dishonest because the consumers are not aware that some of the messages they find in social media and local networks are real marketing where those involved are actually paid for their roles by the organizations. Therefore, the government can influence stealth marketing activities by ensuring business organizations to be responsible for any information regarding their products information as well as informing the public when carrying out any activity that will influence consumer behavior. The government has a duty to ensure that consumers are not deceived into buying goods but make the decision on the goods they want to buy by regulating the type of advertisements and how consumers communicate their products to protect the interests of the people.


Consumers are a stakeholder in the issue of stealth marketing because they are directly affected by deceptive contexts created by organizations to promote their goods and services. Consumers get fooled by stealth marketers and make decisions to buy the good or service in question without knowing that the stealth marketer is being paid to create positive messages regarding a particular product. Therefore, this business ethical issue concerns consumers and will be considered when applying ethical models in the situation.

Stealth Marketers

Stealth marketers are individuals, organizations or groups that are lobbied by organizations to create a favorable market image of a product or a brand. Stealth marketers are the most popular personalities in the society who are able to attract high followership in social media. Stealth marketers are compensated by organizations for drawing attention towards the organization and their products.

Business Organizations

Business organizations are stakeholders in this ethical issue because they are behind stealth marketing despite the fact they do not initially take credit of it or recognize it as a marketing method. Businesses use popular people in society to be identified with their products where they are given benefits or payments in exchange. As a result, business organizations are able to create a convincing first-hand experience from a customer to convince other customers.

Available Alternatives

Social Media Advertising

Instead of stealth marketing which is controversial despite good results, organizations should seek more legitimate and direct marketing approaches where they can be held accountable of the product information and allows buyers to make informed decisions before buying the product. Social media is a growing business advertisement tool that can be used to increase consumer awareness of products and sales. Instead of using stealth marketing, businesses can share their product information through social media without using dubious means that are deceptive to convince consumers to buy their products. From a deontological point of view, businesses have a responsibility offering true information that is not deceiving to potential consumers.


Business sponsorship can act as an excellent alternative to stealth marketing because it helps to derive publicity just like stealth marketing approach. However, in sponsorship, an organization publicly recognizes its sponsorship of a team or an individual by funding activity to derive publicity and also it can act as a corporate social responsibility program. Unlike stealth marketing, sponsorship is a recognizable approach to marketing, and an organization can directly be linked to individual or group activities without any deception. As such, consumers are able to make decisions from a point knowing it is an advertisement. Stealth marketing is like the commercialization of social interactions without the idea of those involved because it derives profit for the organization and the stealth marketer receives handouts for their initiation to portray a positive image of an organization or product.

Consequences of the Alternatives

Consequences of Adopting Alternative Marketing Practices

There are many positive consequences of using ideal and responsible advertisement approaches that do not use brand pushers to deceive consumers without the organization owning the advertisement. Traditional marketing approaches where an organization admits its intention creates a better opportunity for an organization to advertise its goods and services and avoids possible market speculation. Ethical marketing is a duty for every organization to ensure honesty and fairness in marketing practices. Organizations that practice ethical marketing practices are able to attract skilled employees and also attract more consumers because they can be trusted.

Consumer rights law protects cons...

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Paper Example on Stealth Marketing. (2022, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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