Gee, maybe I ought to stay out of this discussion. I'd say this thread is evil!
First I find myself agreeing with JJMcClure - GASP! about marketing and advertising being different. And now, as someone who felt he was "home" from the moment I heard marketing defined - and who has avoided politics for decades as being too sordid for my lily white... reputation. I'm wounded. I want to crawl into a hole and die. I have to confess... I've always considered myself a marketer first!
About advertising... is it evil? I don't think so.
Lying is evil. Misrepresentation is evil. Advertising that lies or "misrepresents" i.e. that Big Mac photo is wrong. (Of course, I've always thought Big Macs were evil incarnate while Whoppers rock, but I digress.)
I've always envisioned advertising having its beginning in an open market somewhere when a merchant selling apples polished his up and called out to a passerby saying "Isn't this the most delicious looking apple you've ever seen?"
Did he lie? No. But he also did not mention that those ugly, deformed apples down the road tasted 10X better.
Human nature might suggest that most people seeing both apples side by side would choose the pretty apple over the ugly one anyway. Go figure.
Copywriting or the writing side of advertising, and I do consider myself a copywriter, is often called "persuasion in print". And indeed the sole purpose and intent of copywriting, and, by extension, advertising, is to persuade people to take a certain action. And that action often entails parting with cold, hard cash.
Just as the sole purpose of a screwdriver is to turn a screw.
And as a screwdriver can be turned to evil purposes, yes, even murder most distasteful, advertising can utilized for bad as well as good purposes. Neither renders the tool evil nor makes it good. It is a tool. No more. No less.
Personally, I feel wasted advertising is evil. What is wasted advertising? Advertising that is not tracked and modified to enhance its effectiveness. What is effective advertising? Advertising that persuades.
Every day we are bombarded with ineffective advertising. It is just plain wrong.
Several times I made the mistake of clicking on an ad. For weeks, the add followed me around on the Internet. Was this effective? Not at all. I made my decisions to buy or not buy base on other factors. At some point the advertising may have been effective in that it may have brought my attention to a product at some point. But beyond that, the ads ceased to be effective and then became annoying. Furthermore, that same advertising prevented me from finding out about other products I may have wanted. What were they? I don't know. I never saw them. And from there on, bad advertising became bad marketing.
Yes they are different, advertising and marketing. But advertising is a part of marketing and at some point one does affect the other.
By the way, was it wrong for the merchant to call out to that person passing by? i don't think so but it certainly open for debate.