Consumer Marketing

Ethics and Consumer Behavior Assignment

35 Points

Due: November 15 via CANVAS

Chapter 16 of your textbook covers ethics in detail. Ethical decision making is an important part of marketing and is relevant to consumer behavior. Page 335 provides the American Marketing Association Code of Ethics. As a future business and marketing professional, you are expected to follow professional codes of ethical conduct such as these. Check it out.

The exhibit below lists strategies for improving ethical decisions.

Instructions: Read the following case.

Annie,  copywriter  for  Laird  &  Laird  (L&L)  Advertising,  has  just  been  assigned  the  Bud’s

Best  (BB)  bacon  account.  She  is  tickled  pink,  because  she  knows  that  Bud’s  Best  has  just signed  a  one-year  contract  to  use  Lance  Willard  as  a  celebrity  endorser.  Lance  is  a  well known, well loved, young, handsome, and vibrant Hollywood movie star who specializes in action   drama   roles.   Victor,   President   of   L&L,   tells   Annie   that   she   will   be   writing commercials using Lance in the role of giving product testimonials. Victor explains to Annie that this endorsement is a testimonial given by a celebrity rather than an average consumer. He  tells  her  that  Lance  has  signed  an  affidavit  swearing  that  he  is  a  bona  fide  user  of  the product, as is legally required. The TV commercials featuring Lance, explains Victor, should feature  Lance  testifying  as  to  the  quality,  value,  and  tastiness  of  the  bacon.  Victor  suggests that  this  will  take  some  good  acting  on  Lance’s  part,  since  he  has  just  recently  become  a vegetarian.    Annie  wonders  whether  a  testimonial  by  Lance  might  not  be  dishonest,  but  she says  nothing  to  Victor  since  she  doesn’t  want  to  blow  her  opportunity  to  meet  Lance  in person. She figures she can get all of the details later from Lance.


Lance turns out to be as charming in person as he is on the silver screen. After some small

talk,  Annie  decides  to  query  Lance  about  his  experience  with  Bud’s  Best.  Lance  explains that he has had personal experience with the product, as is legally required for a testimonial. He  tells  her  that  he  has  done  many  celebrity  endorsements  in  the  past  and  knows  that  the American Advertising Federation’s “Advertising Principles of American Business” state that “advertising containing testimonials shall be limited to those of competent witnesses who are reflecting  a  real  and  honest  opinion  or  experience”  and  that  as  long  as  the  endorser’s comments  are  based  on  verifiable  personal  use,  the  message  cannot  be  challenged  as deceptive.  In  fact,  he  says,  it  has  been  his  favorite  brand  of  bacon  ever  since  he  was  a  small child,  and  bacon  and  eggs  were  his  favorite  and  most  frequently  consumed  breakfast  until about a month ago when he became a vegetarian for health reasons. Lance tells Annie that a recent  checkup  by  his  physician  revealed  that  his  cholesterol  level  was  200–in  the  danger zone. His doctor had warned Lance to cut down on high cholesterol foods, such as bacon and eggs.  Lance  decided  to  go  even  further  and  abstain  from  meat  since  so  many  meats  are  high in cholesterol.

Annie asks Lance diplomatically whether he feels comfortable testifying about how much he

likes Bud’s Best bacon when he no longer uses the product. Lance replies that his conscience

is  clean.  He  has  discussed  the  legalities  with  Victor,  who  told  him  that  technically  it  was okay  for  him  to  discuss  his  past  enjoyment  of  the  product.  After  all,  Lance  reminds  Annie, the selling points he would discuss in the commercials would be the bacon’s quality, value, and good taste. Lance explains that in his view, as far as bacon goes, Bud’s Best is second to none  along  these  criteria.  He  tells  Annie  that  nothing  regarding  the  bacon’s  healthiness,  or lack thereof, will be mentioned. As long as people are going to eat bacon, Lance asserts, they might as well eat Bud’s Best.


Annie thinks that Lance might have a point, but she isn’t sure. She doesn’t want to rock the

boat at this point with either Lance or Victor, for she really wants to work with Lance on the

shoot. She thinks she’d better just give it some more thought and prayer for the time being.


Instructions: Answer the following questions in a separate document. Your responses should be written in a professional manner (5 points) using complete sentences and proper grammar/spelling. Be clear and provide details in your answers.

  1. Define the ethical issue(s). (Define 2-3 issues) (5 points)


  1. Who are the primary stakeholders in this situation? (Identify as many stakeholders as possible) (5 points)


  1. What are Annie’s possible alternatives? (Identify 2-3 alternative actions) (5 points)


  1. Evaluate and detail the ethical implications of the alternative actions you listed in #3 by using at least one of the following decision rules. (10 points)


  • Harm Test: Does this option do less harm than any alternative?
  • Golden Rule or Reversibility Test: Would I like to be on the receiving end of this action and all its potential consequences?
  • Defensibility Test: Could I defend my choice before an ethics committee, my colleagues, my peers, my parents, etc.?


  1. What action would you recommend to Annie? Explain/justify your decision? (5 points)



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