Monday, November 23, 2009

Ethics and Marketing

A question in the Ethics and CSR exam today asked for your views on ethics in marketing mix. Many of you did appear to be fairly comfortable with the subject and the questions. There are however some issues you guys need to consider.


1.       Ethics and “law” are two different things altogether. You don’t necessarily need to be unlawful to be unethical.

2.       As managers, when discussing ethics, you should take a long term view and ask yourself if the trade practice under consideration will in anyway damage the social and cultural fabric of the land?

3.       A case in point is the “fairness cream” ads. Though within legal limits, do you think they may be in anyway sowing seeds of un healthy self image in adolescents who may not be “fair”?? Now imagine so many product categories promise to make you “slimmer”, “taller”, “teach you English” and what not!! All on the hidden message that if you are not a tall, fair good looking person fluent in English you may be lesser than others!!! Think about it…

4.       Consider this; The way media is building up the 26/11 anniversary, has that event not become a “product”. On 26th all channels will vie for TRPs and most people will end up watching the “most interesting” presentation of the issue which invariably will be the most extreme. So do you think such marketing of negative event anniversaries promote extreme views in the society? Another case for marketing ethics debate!!!

5.       Our ever popular “saas bahu serials” have been held responsible for degrading family values. Would you agree?

6.       The pricing and the matching positioning of gadgets and lifestyle products are promoting deviant adolescent behaviour. Remember how bad it felt when we could not buy that iPhone?? Do you think some young guys and girls may have indulged in negative behaviour to acquire it, like stealing maybe??? Even otherwise, don’t you think that the admiration and the strong feeling just below your sternum (do you know what is the sternum) which you get when you see a class mate use an iPhone is itself an example of how pricing and positioning makes you graduate products from being desires to needs???


These are just few points for your consideration. Do discuss them in your class.


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Satindra said...

Interesting post! Ashish. I believe marketing should always be absolutely ethical... See the emphasis on 'absolutely' and 'always'? Some Marketing managers say we will be ethical once we are established in the market and are successful. They miss the point entirely (entirely). In the long run companies with ethical marketing strategies will not only make money but will also make a difference.

PS: Bye the way I Googled 'Sternum' to check whether I was right about its meaning. I am afraid I was wrong, by a few inches. Is that too bad:)