Ethical Marketing

Ancient advertising geniuses might have been lucky, because they lived in the innocent time of marketing sunrise. Earlier, it was enough simply to paint the product you are selling on a piece of stone or wood. Now, the situation is quite different. Competition is so great, that old methods do not work any more. Some of the companies and brands are ready to reach the goals by any means available. There are companies, which use sexually, racially or any other way offensive content to promote their merchandize. These, abovementioned, are not squeamish about using any means brining the maximum profit, even in spite of the fact that these means can cause environmental problems or may be the reason for deceptive and misleading situations.

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Here the term of ethical marketing comes up. By ethical marketing we understand the process of building a reliable client base, but taking social and environmental concerns into consideration. There are many ways of ethics violation and thus, turning ethical marketing into unethical one. Several of these are: deceptive pricing, deceptive promotion and deceptive packaging.

Deceptive pricing presupposes false data about the cost of goods or services given to the customer. Wal-Mart special offers and their famous Rollback program are the bright examples for this type of unethical marketing strategy. As it is obvious from the picture the new price in the first case is not only the same or lower, but higher. The possibility of mistake is ruled out because of other numerous examples. Another picture (Appendix A, Figure 2) shows that the old price was $2,5 or $5 for two.

The new price gives $6 for two. Quite a bargain, isn’t it? China has already accused Wal-Mart of misleading customers pressed charges.

Deceptive promotion is about using dishonest ways of selling products. McDonald’s Happy Meal (Appendix B, Figure 3)illustrates such a method. It is evident that kids do not love French fries as much as the anticipation of finding their favorite cartoon character inside. Moreover, these characters are not always suitable for all children according to their appearance or packaging arrangement. Almost all the toys are plastic. Most of them are thrown away after a short period of time and do not decompose until after 500 years.

The US customer group’s litigation director Stephen Gardner said: “McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children.” Every body knows how “healthy” McDonald’s meals are for children.

Deceptive packaging usually helps the manufacturers to keep afloat even when they face the price rate rising and client base shrinking. Some common techniques here are: to change the weight, make it smaller; to “improve” the new packaging by making it higher and thinner at the same time; to reduce the quality of the product. Malt-O Meal packages seem just the same at the first sight. But if you look closer you see the real change in weight from 36.0 OZ to 28.0 OZ. and supposedly, the company offers the customers to cut down on their diet in such a way.

One company, that practices sustainable marketing, is The Coca-Cola Company. World Wildlife Fund has this company among respectable partners. They claim that since 2007 they have “improved water efficiency and reduced climate emissions within Coca-Cola’s manufacturing operations, advanced sustainable agriculture in the company’s supply chain, helped conserve priority river basins around the world.”

Also worthy to remark is the recent campaign of these two joined forces in their common purpose of saving polar bears. Global warming problem caused a lot of crucial changes, especially in the Arctic. The campaign “The Last Ice Area” has the purpose of “conserving habitat for Arctic ice-dependent species, protecting the cultural heritage of local people and improving livelihoods.”

From a moral point of view some actions are debatable, but only one thing remains unchanged. You may draw you product on a piece of wood or make pictures of it with polar bears. As long as it does not harm or even helps in a way it is still called ethical marketing.

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