The increase of excess weight all over the world has lead to ongoing discussions about the duty of the food and drink industry. Where food used to be always a pleasure, it is now beginning to get increasingly more evil; consumers like to blame the industry to be heavy and diet-related diseases. The marketing departments of the firms in the meals industry seem to be ideal to blame when it comes to the duty for the wellness of the consumer. False or misleading statements on products, advertising damaging products, unfair focus on marketing and unfair prices: all area of the "unethical-marketing fad" that is happening at the moment. It's time to have a closer look at these "unethical" routines.
The definitive goal of this paper is to go over the responsibility of the firms to avoid unethical
marketing and, to a certain degree, to take care of the wellbeing of the consumer. To come to this point of discourse, first it's important to develop a wide view of what "unethical marketing" is and "responsibility" really means.
The paper starts off with a theoretical view of this is of the term "ethics": what does it mean if
something is ethical? From there, the second chapter is about unethical marketing. The past chapter is approximately the duty: since this is certainly a broad term, to be able to make use of it in the debate, a closer look must be studied to different kinds of responsibility. After these three chapters, it is easier to come to a dialogue about the duty from companies in the meals industry from the consequences with their marketing. Since the subject is so controversial and there exists many different opinions about the duty of the business, it is almost impossible to provide a "conclusion" by the end of the newspaper. The last section therefore consists of a discussion if it's possible and necessary for businesses to reinforce their position on the marketplace and also to make a much better earnings using marketing, without "hurting" the consumer.
Since the term ethics is a so-called "normative term" with many different possible definitions, it's important to start with a specific definition of the ethics talked about in this paper. Furthermore, this section will give information to just how ethics can be employed running a business: what exactly are marketing ethics?
2. 1 General
One of the most known meanings of ethics is the one from Aristotle: Individual actions from the idea of view in their rightness or wrongness (Gaski, 1999, p. 316). Ethics should concern "personal virtue" and with every decision, you need to be honest, good and caring. A classification that is so idealistic and simplistic is not helpful in finding a solid meaning: right and wrong are probably in the same way normative as the term ethics. Whenever we try to give a definition of the word ethics it appears from the books that you can try it from two different philosophical views, also know as "ethical dualism". The first view is the teleological view, also called the consequentialist view or utilarism, which is based on the results of certain actions taken. Whereas the other view, deontology, is more predicated on average behaviour and obligations to other folks (Gaski, 1999, p. 315). Teleology is dependant on the moral valuation of the consequences and deontology is due to the ethical worth of the concepts (Van Luijk, 1996, p. 36). Of course there are a great number of philosophers who oppose to the relatively simple classification but since this is the most common, it is not within the reach of the paper to mention all of them (White, 2003, p. 92).
Ethical egoist (teleological "wrong")
This person or entity is only concerned with his or her own good and is inclined not to keep in mind the
consequences from his / her action to their environment. They will do everything possible to
accomplish the best results to them (Vittel a. o. , 2003, p. 152).
Local or cosmopolitan utilitarism (teleological "right")
Ethical in a manner that behavior is right when the biggest advantage for the biggest group of individuals can be reached. This biggest advantages is seen within companies or in a certain group, local, or for population generally, cosmopolitan (Argawal and Malloy, 2000, p. 143).
The other way of judging ethics is deontology, also called "formalistic ethics" (Van Luijk, 1996, p. 36). In this context you need to not look at the consequences, final results or results of a certain action but simply the moral status of the true action considered (White, 2003, p. 92). It really is based on a categorical imperative, people's decisions can be only moral if they're based on a sense of free will, not because someone else forces them to take action (White, 2003, p. 91). Within these decisions people are expected to be logical and personal effects should play no role in making an moral decision.
2. 2 Marketing ethics
Ethics within businesses can be found in many fields, such as accounting, recruiting, competition,
business-to-business relations and marketing. For the present time we are only thinking about marketing ethics, one of the very most popular subjects nowadays running a business studies. Ethics within marketing can be defined as how the moral criteria of a company are being reflected on marketing decisions, behaviour and behaviour (Gaski, 1999, p. 316). Within marketing ethics both of the views described above play a role, the idealistic view of the behaviour of your business creates a perfect balance and is recognized as the Janus-Headed Model (Brady, 1995, p. 368).
This model is known as after the famous Roman god with two faces (one looking forward, and the otherone looking backward) who protected the access of Rome. In the model the teleological way is from the head that looked onward and Janus's brain looking backward implies the deontological way. For the teleologists which means that they have a tendency to look in the foreseeable future for results, chances and improvements while looking for a "human" solution which also covers the best results (Brady, 1995, p. 569). Deontologists do the contrary; they look before, or are at least thinking about following customs and written or unwritten regulations and rules (Brady, 1995, p. 569). Their decisions and final results derive from other decisions in the past. By looking at marketing ethics, businesses participating in unethical marketing give a slight desire to the head of Janus looking again. So long as their marketing plan complies with regulations or codes of conduct of their company and others, they see no reason for it to be unethical. They know consumers have "the right to know" to a certain extent, and they provide the least information about the product they sell. Alternatively, they won't look from a teleological viewpoint: creating the greatest good for the greatest number of people (consumers) is often not what they reach with the marketing programs, especially not through their advertising. Unethical marketing in this paper is therefore not something that is illegal, but something that might be harmful to the consumer. It is in the marketing where the company might be called an
ethical egoist with an increase of self-interest than common interest. They don't go through the consequences with their actions
(teleological) but only at the right or wrong of their basic decisions (deontology). It is not said that this is by definition wrong, and that the corporations should take responsibility because of their consumers. Before discussing this, we will first look at a few examples of unethical marketing.
3. Unethical marketing
In this section we will need a broader look at the sensation of unethical marketing. This section tries to
explain what we should imply by "unethical marketing" and how it could be found in the food and drink industry.
3. 1 General
To get an improved understanding, the first question that pops up is "What is marketing and why does it exist?". Marketing is how the products are from the consumers: from general market trends to the ability of the merchandise to penetrate the marketplace. Essentially the most known and controversial aspect is adding the merchandise under the attention of the buyer through advertising. The ultimate way to look at marketing is to check out the marketing concept of Philip Kotler. From this concept the purpose of marketing is to find the actual consumers want and also to answer by offering the right products, costed in ways where it delivers value to the customer and profit to the seller. Which means that marketing is a mutual concept that is vital for a continuing economy to gratify the demand of the buyer (Kotler, 1996, p. 35). This idea increases the question whether or not you'll be able to combine communal responsibility for the consumer and survival on a competitive market, something we see in the talk later on.
If you follow the concept where the main purpose is to meet the demand of the buyer, you can
expect that it's sometimes harder for the enterprise to act within an moral way. By this you can imagine what
happens if the buyer wants something that is not good for them, or something that has negative outcomes for contemporary society or particular sets of society. Bringing these products to the attention of the consumers by advertising is mainly seen nowadays as the unethical marketing detailed above. You may think of many types of unethical marketing, organised in the following way (Gaski, 1999, p. 317):
1. Retailing dangerous or dangerous products.
This contains the marketing of products that are regarded as damaging for the consumers, or products with mysterious risks that are made attractive by marketing.
2. Misleading the customers.
The businesses can mislead their customers with several steps, for example: oversize packages, undelivered offers, deceptive advertising or personal advertising.
3. Unfair pricing.
This is the truth if the businesses do not respect one or many of the following rules: the consumer
should get good affordability put in, price should be totally disclosed, price should not be artificially high; price fixing is not ethical and neither is predatory pricing.
4. Practices illegal.
Businesses should not damage the surroundings, commit bribery, prolong preferential treatment to a
customer or manipulate the availability of something.
5. Behaviour out of own good.
This is where in fact the self-interest of the company crosses the boundary, they should give consideration to
providing accessible means for customer issues, not over-recommend the merchandise quality level
to the customer rather than "humiliate" the competition.
3. 2 Unethical marketing in the meals and drink industry
Since the marketing in the food industry is focused on selling products, the key way to market the product is advertising and labelling, bringing them to the attention of the consumer. The first two of the details referred to above play a big role. The first one is misleading the customer: it includes a broad range of "slick methods" utilized by manufacturers to sell their products to the public. The second one, selling dangerous products, is a lot worse.
1. Misleading the client:
A priori doesn't contain anything bad. It often happens that manufacturers put boasts on the deals of products that say that it generally does not include a certain ingredient, even though it is completely normal for this particular product never to contain the element. In this manner they can move the interest away from the "bad" ingredients: "naturally includes no fat", for example, will not mean that the merchandise contains no sugars.
2. The "healthy" product.
By this you can think of claims that are officially true but aim to confuse the buyer. For example if they advertise that their product has "real fruit", the buyer links this with a healthy product, which is definitely not true.
3. The demi-truth.
This means that manufacturers are changing the truth to help make the product more appealing. More often than not they use the substances the product does not contain. A popular use of the sin is, for example, "90% fats free": this looks attractive for the buyer but might just as well contain 10% of unwanted fat.
When manufacturers do that, these are actually exaggerating their product features. You could recognise these products when they say "prepared with": this does not imply anything and can even point to a minimal content of the certain ingredient. This sin also contains claims on products that might be a little
"too difficult" for the buyer to understand, like all sorts of different bacteria and complexes: the buyer will not know them, but - since proved by knowledge (?) - they might be good, therefore the consumer buys them.
Manufactures aren't obligated to name their product after the primary component: something that may be very confusing for the buyer. That is most noticeable in the meats industry: some iced products like "chicken fingertips" could just as well be made out of turkey. In marketing this is also called the claim-belief conversation: the manufacturer using the actual misunderstandings of the product, claims to market their products (Thompson, 2002, p. 359). Most of the time they make the fundamental information as small as possible on the plans of products or even omit them totally.
Selling dangerous or harmful products:
6. The rose-coloured eyeglasses.
This sin looks similar to the second one but that one is even worse since it makes the buyer think
they are in fact eating a wholesome product while the product is actually unhealthy. Good examples are the
products which contain certain food additives and unnatural sweeteners that can harm your health, like
those within low-fat products. The consumers think they are simply healthier because system. drawing. bitmap is removed; nevertheless they forget there could be other ingredients that can be harmful. Manufacturers market their products in a
way where in fact the consumers web page link "fat free" with "healthiness", something which is not necessarily true.
7. The push to over usage.
This is mostly triggered by little "presents" offered to the buyer when buying the product, that have little to do with the food. Hereby you can think of: contests, high profile or toon endorsements,
in-pack special offers, convenient product packaging (e. g. the lunchboxes), discount buys ("2 for 1") and multi-buy
packs. The biggest problem with this drive to over ingestion is that one sets of consumers are
more vulnerable than other categories. The explanation for this is these groups of men and women have lost their critical thinking skills to judge mass media warnings. You can think of aim for marketing to women (indoctrinated by the ideal view of the anorexic female), elderly (ready to do everything to "lengthen" their lives), ethnical minorities (discriminatory ad) and undoubtedly the famous marketing to children who are nowadays viewed as plenary consumers (Cui & Choudhurry, 2003, p 1).
It is not very easy to decide what the responsibility of an venture for contemporary society is. Responsibility in general means that someone is to blame, something has to be done or some type of trustworthiness should be expected (Goodpaster and Matthews, 2000, p. 133). But to which extent can a organization have these "human characteristics"? To create it much easier to discuss this so-called "corporate public responsibility" it is necessary to separate it into four different sorts of responsibilities: economic obligations, legal responsibilities, honest duties and discretionary obligations. You can see these four categories by means of a pyramid, as shown in the body below.
Source: Caroll (1991)
(Carroll, 1991, p. 40). The one question is what lengths the company should go when climbing this pyramid and how steep the pyramid should be. To go over this question within the last chapter it is necessary to have a closer take a look at the different degrees of the pyramid.
4. 1 Economic responsibilities
In short, the economical responsibility for a business is to be profitable (Carroll, 1991, p. 42). Historically, the sole task of any business was to create goods and services that consumers needed, and try to gain a earnings as high as possible. This isn't only important for the business also for almost all of its stakeholders. A successful business is one which produces constant gains to reach a strong position in the market, and be as efficient as is feasible (Carroll, 1991, p. 40). This is quite controversial when it comes to social responsibility and therefore it is usually not where the pyramid ends. Even though some economists, like Milton Friedman, possessed the opinion this is indeed the main point where the duties should stop (Friedman, 1970).
Friedman said that really the only responsibility of your business was to make a good profit. He previously the
opinion that only people may take real responsibilities and this, since an enterprise can be an entity and not a person, the business enterprise could only have fictive responsibilities no genuine ones. These tasks lay in the hands of the manager of the enterprise and Friedman explained that its singular responsibility was to take responsibility because of its employees and shareholders. In other words: to make earnings to allow them to get paid. Really the only reason a administrator could be seduced by corporate interpersonal responsibility (ethical of philanthropic forms) would be to calm its own conscience. This is not very functional in the eyes of Friedman because it would result in less profit, thus lowering the power of the business to use responsibility because of its employees and stakeholders. Cultural responsibility would have more to do with politics mechanisms than with market mechanisms and would therefore not be interesting for firms (Friedman, 1970, p. 1).
4. 2 Legal responsibilities
Complying with regulations is seen as a "social deal" between businesses and culture where the organizations are expected to follow their economic missions and monetary responsibility within the platform of the law (Carroll, 1991, p. 42). The "rules of the game" are created by federal, state and local government authorities and really should be the bottom rules for how a company should action. It can be the start of honest responsibility because the law actually provides "basic" ethical things. An effective company at this degree of the pyramid is the one that accomplishes its financial objectives and does not break regulations, including the creation of products and services that satisfy legal needs (Carroll, 1991, p. 41).
4. 3 Honest responsibilities
Ethical responsibilities refer to the responsibility to do what is right, just and fair and to avoid damage (Carroll, 1991, p. 42). With this form of sociable responsibility, it's important that the way to do business is constant with the prospects of the public and moral norms and values. These expectations of what's ethical and what is not need been identified in the foregone chapters. In a broad sense we can say that from a deontological treat this means that the business employs the "general rules"; from teleological treat this means the company tries to reach the best effects for every get together involved. Honest responsibility concerns the activities that, even though not constrained for legal reasons, are expected or disapproved by modern culture. In general, modern culture desires the industry to do "extra" things not compelled by Legal obligations (Carroll, 1991, p. 41). It's very difficult for corporations to assess how big this responsibility should be, since it is impossible to find clear lines about norms and ideals given that they fluctuate and change in a contemporary society. Businesses in the meals industry might have difficulties with what lengths they can thrust the limitations: one consumer will feel mislead much quicker than the other.
Ethical responsibility in the food industry is mainly centered across the question rather the businesses can be pointed as guilty for the recent pattern in obesity.
4. 4 Discretionary responsibilities
The last form of responsibility runs strictly against the idea of Milton Friedman and cases that the company should be a "good citizen" by engaging in acts or programs to promote individual welfare or goodwill (Carroll, 1991, p. 42). This corporate citizenship, also called marketing citizenship, means actively taking part in programs or activities like charity jobs or voluntary work and in the food industry: in health promotions. There is a cultural expectation that businesses donate a degree of their money, facilities and employees to humanitarian purposes (Carroll, 1991, p. 42). Though it is not thought to be unethical by world if companies do not take this type of responsibility, it is something that is often silently expected. 60 that it's quite easy for businesses to displace their honest responsibility by their discretionary responsibility: donation money might be observed as a redemption sum to hush unethical business procedures. It is a great method for businesses to drag the attention from scandals-to-be, giving the consumer the picture to be very socially liable by simply donating a great
sum of money. For example, by firmly taking responsibility for the tiny children in the 3rd world countries by paying a sum of money, they can avoid shedding profit by taking responsibility because of their "own" children who are suffering from obesities for their products (Weber, 2002, p. 553).
5. Talk: the business, honest egoist, local or cosmopolitan utilitarist?
Now that we viewed this unethical marketing we come to the more interesting part: can we blame the
businesses for the way they market their products, misleading the consumers and sometimes even hurting the health of their consumers? In other words What's their responsibility? The first form of responsibility is the monetary responsibility. This is a responsibility businesses have to take and are of course very eager to take. With this it is important not to see the business as an honest egoist but as a
local utilitarist: they have to take this responsibility for his or her stakeholders. Funnily enough, stakeholders include employees, traders, suppliers, directors. . . But also the consumers. In the food industry these products might sometimes be the products that are bad for the buyer, but we have to make a variation between preferences and meta-preferences here. There is absolutely no problem listening to the personal preferences of the client, but it isn't ethically to fortify the meta-preferences, this might make the business enterprise an moral egoist. This is where the overlap with honest responsibility begins: businesses will assert all the time that metapreferences do not are present and if so, they have nothing in connection with them. By definition, food is never bad for you and it will depend on how you utilize it. If the consumer is not logical enough to make their own options the firms "don't see" how they could be responsible for this. They hereby forget that it is not impossible to obtain both, a "concern for gains" and a "concern for society".
When it comes to legal responsibility there is no question that companies forced by law
should stay away from products which are regarded as risky for the consumer, normally: they do. Not only
because it is forbidden, but the products don't sell anyway if they are regarded as dangerous. But the products that are "not yet proven to be possibly unsafe, so Not harmful", are doubtful. Is it the duty of the business to care for this possible harmfulness? Legal responsibility is an problem of deontology ethics and combining it with teleology is too complicated for the consumers and for the firms.
When it comes to health risks, uncertainties should be minimised. Certainly we are not dealing with "over
consumption" but about elements or artificial chemicals that cause harm. Restraining the intake of their own product is not so tempting for the manufacturers: why as long as they want to lessen their own revenue? Even though many people are reluctant as it pertains to the "invisible hands" being substituted by the "government hand" I think they need to at least make proper laws and regulations concerning the marketing of proven dangerous products and about labeling in "all honesty".
Ethical responsibility for the consumer is the main one businesses promise "never to see". How do businesses come away with their extremely misleading marketing tricks? With most kinds of unethical marketing the businesses use the bounded rationality of the buyer (White, 2003, p. 100): the buyer has certain responsibilities to themselves but won't will have enough "character" to obey to these commitments. The moral dilemma for companies is to what extent they need to take responsibility because of this "character". This is where their self-interest has to stop plus they have to be cosmopolitan utilitarists rather than local utilitarists. They have to deal with the fact that they are not alone upon this planet and that it is not only their revenue that counts.
It is also the stage where the "authorities hand" has to withdraw, for me intervening at this point is
taking away the free selection of the society. The firms do not produce these products for nothing, the
consumers wants them even though they might be a risk for health. Taking the products out of the market will not only hurt the firms but also the consumers who actually like the merchandise. But how to proceed about the consumers who like the products too much? If the businesses help them in looking to avoid overusing the products? Many people compare the food industry with the tobacco industry and say businesses have to put warnings on their products. In my opinion this isn't something you can compare because no person needs cigarette smoking but everybody needs food. Therefore I don't see any business carrying out this out of self-regulation: since probably not every competitor would it, putting the boasts on the products will make it appear to be they are to blame and not the product. Consumers will just choose the same bad product but from another manufacturer. But businesses could at least make an effort to be honest with their customers, only if out of "respect".
The previous responsibility is the discretionary responsibility. This might sound very commendable, but I believe this
is only a means for the firms to skip the "ethical floor" of the pyramid. It seems that most businesses,
perceived as practising unethical behavior, "confuse" these two responsibilities. Obviously they don't mistake them, it is real an extremely well considered decision. It is a perfect way they can conceal the fact they don't really want to take ethical responsibility because they are afraid of what might happen to their earnings.
It would be nice and easy to say that businesses and the government are the only ones who need to take
responsibility, unfortunately this is untrue. You will find three different gatherings that I think could take responsibility as well. The first party are of course the consumers. Costumers appear to ignoremarketing stunts, no matter whether they know the statements may not be so true or useful after all, they prefer to believe in it so they buy the products. It isn't only the business enterprise operating out of self-interest, the consumers learn how to do that to. They need tasty food that is not only cheap but also healthy and literally wait until the businesses give this to them. That is quite difficult to produce but an invitation for businesses to market their product as though it offers all the three figure treats: unethical marketing. The consumer will never be satisfied enough, since most of us got a little spoiled, and instead of changing their three needs, it blames the company. If we continue blaming, we will finish up convincing ourselves that we are not to blame and, just like a vicious circle, we will do nothing to change our behaviour since it was "designed to be" and "forced through to us". Why have we become so unaggressive as it pertains to eating? It is too easy at fault the change of lifestyle, "forced up" by the food industry. We have to accept our lifestyles have improved and try to make the best from it, by ourselves.
The second get together is the area of the food industry that distinguishes themselves as advertising healthy products: where is the marketing for the apple? Even though it may appear like "unnatural" to the suppliers of "natural products": why not advertise for things like fruit and veggies? If Kellogg's can put superstar wars toys in their deals, why can't we put a Mickey Mouse sticker on an apple?
The alternative party are the supermarkets and other shops were the food comes. If consumers think they are
to "weak" to make their own "rational" decisions you will want to put them in a "rational" environment when they actually there daily shopping? Supermarkets should are more available, less seductive and much more ordered.
It is hard, and dangerous, to come quickly to a realization on a topic this controversial, with this little
background so I will not do that. To come with a real conclusion it might be necessary to first have a closer look at the actual repercussions of unethical marketing also to have a look at market of the meals industry more profoundly. For the present time, it appears to me that the clich holds true and that everyone is dependable and everybody likes to blame another person because of its responsibility. Businesses should take their cost-effective and responsibility, helped by the federal government, and up to a certain degree also their moral responsibility. This last one doesn't invariably mean they need to change their marketing strategies or the content of their products but they have to see the buyer about the merchandise as good as it is possible. To avoid misunderstanding, discretionary responsibility is not very important, but might are more interesting when businesses have learned to have their honest responsibility.
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