Law and Ethics in Advertising


George Gathigi

George Gathigi is a lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication where he teaches courses on Mass Media & Development Communication. He holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and Masters of Arts in Development Communication from Ohio University and a BA from University of Nairobi. He has previously taught at Hampshire College and Ohio University. He has consulted on projects implementation, M&E, capacity building and training & documentation in the development and public sector with organization such as UNICEF, UNODC, ICCO Cooperation, ActionAid (Kenya), AMREF, Internews, Article 19, Anglicord, WHO, among others. He is passionate about teaching, mentorship, capacity building and empowering communities. He is a language and sports aficionado.


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Advertising plays a critical part in all market economies. It helps stimulates growth and innovation, encourages competition and increases consumer choice through information provision. Advertising helps to create awareness among the consumer about product innovations and keeping them informed of the range, nature and quality of the products available to them. Advertising is crucial for maintaining or increasing market share and vital to the introduction of a new product or the improvement of an existing one.

To fulfil these roles, advertising must also attract consumer trust and confidence. It must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. If not done properly, advertisers can mislead consumers. It can be offensive and can result in unintended results. Bad advertising, even when it account for only a small percentage of the whole, can undermine consumer confidence and all advertising will suffer. So it is in the interests of the advertising industry and consumers, regulation becomes important.

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