And that's all it is, comedians making jokes. I've worked with multiple companies in a marketing position, and not a single one of them employs less than moral tactics. And at the end of the day, marketers respond to market trends and demand, because they're interested in one of many things, (such as increased brand awareness, loyalty or sales) and all of them are positive results for the company. Selling arsenic to a baby (a joke I know, extreme example to prove a point), would not be good for the company.
Perfect example of this is Gap Kids. They advertised a sexier line of clothes aimed at tweens a few years ago, and people were in an uproar. Thing is, they sold. The problem isn't marketers, the problem is people and what they want.
My problem with comments like this (and it really stemmed from comments by the journalist covering that Gap Kids story) is that people refer to the marketing industry as if it was one single entity and that we all meet every month to decide what evil, take-over-the-world plans we will execute next. Fact is, we're all in competition. It's an extremely competitive market on every scale/level, and some professionals make bad decisions and some make good decisions. The ones that make bad decisions usually end up fired, or their company suffers from it.
Bottom line is most marketers do things above board, for fear of negative repercussions by their consumers.
I think a lot of the negative connotations come from industries like the modelling industry, where (despite the glorification of dating/banging a hot, skinny model) everyone claims the industry is at fault for pushing this message of "you have to be thin" down people's throats.
Yet everyone still watches them, photographs them, wishes they were in bed with them or actually were them.
Yet the industry and brands are to blame? They're merely responding to market demand. Same reason now why health foods, gluten free and organic are so popular right now; because they're on trend. People want it, so marketers are delivering.
Demand; response. That's how the marketing industry works.
What I find extremely ironic, is that this guy's career relies on heavy and proper marketing in order for him to fill seats, pay his bills and enjoy the lifestyle he enjoys.