Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics which deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing. Some areas of marketing ethics (ethics of advertising and promotion) overlap with media ethics.
None of these frameworks allows, by itself, a convenient and complete categorization of the great variety of issues in marketing ethics
Contrary to popular impressions, not all marketing is adversarial, and not all marketing is stacked in favour of the marketer. In marketing, the relationship between producer/consumer or buyer/seller can be adversarial or cooperative. For an example of cooperative marketing, see relationship marketing. If the marketing situation is adversarial, another dimension of difference emerges, describing the power balance between producer/consumer or buyer/seller. Power may be concentrated with the producer (caveat emptor), but factors such as over-supply or legislation can shift the power towards the consumer (caveat vendor). Identifying where the power in the relationship lies and whether the power balance is relevant at all are important to understanding the background to an ethical dilemma in marketing ethics.
A popularist anti-marketing stance commonly discussed on the blogosphere and popular literature is that any kind of marketing is inherently evil. The position is based on the argument that marketing necessarily commits at least one of three wrongs: