As the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are more commonly baked into products we buy, more and more companies are “spying” on their customers. The companies use the data to learn more about customers and sometimes to provide a more personalized user experience. Not everyone likes this idea as you can see in the video below. Watch the video and read the article, “ When Your Stuff Spies on You ” (Fortune, May 23, 2017), to learn about how some unhappy customers are fighting back. Is this unethical? What are the responsibilities of companies that spy on customers through their products? Most “inform” customers about [Continue Reading …]
Consumers around the world want lower prices for everything. In response to consumer wants and needs, many clothing brands and clothing retailers manufacture garments in low labor cost countries like Bangladesh. This article in Bloomberg Businessweek, “ Clothing Keeps Getting Cheaper, and Factory Workers Are Paying the Price, ” (October 27, 2016) describes how keeping costs low makes it difficult for factories to meet employee safety requirements. After reading the article, do you feel unsafe working environments are just part of the cost of doing business? Should importing countries like the United States regulate safety in other countries? Should clothing brands demand safer workplaces? Even if it means their costs will [Continue Reading …]
While chapter 19 is mostly about businesses acting ethically and socially responsible, a section at the end of the chapter discusses how societies “Need socially responsible consumers.” This little article/game describes the challenges facing consumers pointing out that “ Ethical Shopping is Even Harder Than You Thought ” (Bloomberg Businessweek, December 26, 2016 – January 8, 2017). Click through the article/game and re-read the section of the text “Need socially responsible consumers.” Is it fair to expect consumers to jump through so many hoops to be socially responsible? What role should government play in regulating industries so that we all behave more ethically? Explain and justify your [Continue Reading …]
In chapter 17 we discuss dynamic pricing — when prices change “according to the level of demand, the type of customer, or the state of the weather.” Uber is a company that connects people who need a ride with drivers who can give those rides (a competitor to the taxi cab). A key part of Uber’s business model is “surge pricing.” Surge pricing is a form of dynamic pricing and prices increase as cabs become more scarce (due to fewer drivers or a significant increase in demand). So for example, when the weather is particularly cold or wet, many pedestrians seek out cabs. [Continue Reading …]
Where does the FTC draw the line on misleading advertising? Here is a recent example of a recent ad the FTC thought went too far. What do you think? So what makes this ad misleading? You might ask your students what would make this ad misleading. It turns out at least two factors contributed to the FTC’s decision. First, the truck couldn’t actually do what it proposed. Cables hidden in the sand actually pulled the dune buggy up the dune. Second, the sand dune was modified to make it look steeper that it really was. While Nissan claimed the video was meant [Continue Reading …]
Powerful computers now allow software to read people’s emotions. Some of this new software and various applications are described in this article and the video below “ The Technology that Unmasks Your Hidden Emotions ” (Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2015, non-subscribers may need to click here ). How could a marketing manager for a retailer like Best Buy or a specialty store like say Victoria’s Secret. A bigger question might be whether retailers should use this type of information. Does it invade people’s privacy? How? Why?
This morning I listened to an interesting radio story about how video game makers use concepts from behavioral science to enhance games’ addictiveness (see “ This Is Your Brain on Candy Crush ,” NPR Morning Edition, October 9, 2014). Clearly the path to video game breakout rests in creating an addictive experience. It left me wondering about the ethics of creating addictive games. It certainly raises questions — especially when you hear how hard gaming companies work on this. So what do you think? Are these video game makers acting unethically? What should they do differently?
Honey Maid brand just launched a new television ad (“This is wholesome”) that celebrates diversity and features a same-sex couple with their baby, an interracial couple holding hands on a walk with their kids, and an African-American father with three mixed race children. Is America ready for this? Is Honey Maid’s target market ready for this? We could debate the social ramifications here – but that is fodder for another blog. This blog focuses on marketing strategy. So let’s examine this as a business decision for Honey Maid — not a political statement. For some background, check out this article [Continue Reading …]