Marketing practices — and laws that govern those practices — are always changing. Chapter 8 discusses food product labels. Recently the Food and Drug Administration made changes to the nutrition facts label that appears on the side of packaged foods. The new label reflects the latest scientific information on how foods — in particular sugar — contribute to an unhealthy diet. For full details, we refer you straight to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, “ Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label ” (May 20, 2016). Review the press release at the FDA website (link above). List three changes to the label that help it [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 …]
Today technology and big data make it easier and faster to effectively price discriminate — offer different prices to different customers. The practice is becoming more common, especially online. Companies like Staples and Rosetta Stone use a customers’ browsing history and where they live to serve up different prices. For example, a site can tell if you have visited their online competitor or a price comparison site. If that is the case, they assume you are price sensitive, and they might offer you the product at a lower price. Legal? Yes. Ethical? Up for debate. All together, these make dynamic [Continue Reading …]
Should the U.S. government ban food marketing to kids? Should kids cereals no longer include cartoon characters, free prizes inside, and other promotions directed at children? That is the position taken by one side in a debate at USA Today “ Ban food marketing to kids ” (October 16, 2011). The other side of the debate can be read in “ Food fight over marketing to kids misses the mark ” (USA Today, October 16, 2011), which advocates new voluntary guidelines created by the food industry. Read the editorial and counterpoint. Where do you come down in this debate? Why?
Is the future of online advertising one of incredibly targeted advertising based on your interests, online activities and Facebook “likes,” or is it one dictated by robust privacy controls that keep those details out of the hands of marketers? This article at CNN.com “‘ Like’ it or not, online ads are getting personal ” (January 31, 2011) starts by asking this question. It is my belief that many of my students care very little about their personal online privacy. The article describes behavioral advertising and notes that the Federal Trade Commission is considering a “Do Not Track” list similar to the “Do Not Call” list created to curb telemarketing. [Continue Reading …]
Terrachoice Environmental Marketing has released its third annual report on greenwashing – “ The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition, 2010. ” The report finds, among other things, that more than 95% of products making a green claim were found to commit at least one of the 7 sins of greenwashing. If you are not up for reading the whole report, you can read highlights of the report posted at Greenbiz.com .
Consumer interest in making sustainable choices may be limited. Sun Chip is ditching its environmentally-friendly compostable (but apparently much noiser) bag. Sales of the snack dropped after the new bag was introduced (“ It’s Better for Whose Environment? “, Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2010 – note this link takes you to a back door for non-subscribers). This sentiment is also expressed at Adweek, “ Consumers Don’t Warm to Eco-Friendly Products ” (October 12, 2010). Is there only a small segment of consumers interested in sustainability? Is the “price” for making socially responsibly purchase too high? What can firms do to make sustainable products more appealing? Should the government get involved [Continue Reading …]
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has brought a class action lawsuit against Coca Cola. CSPI claims that Vitaminwater’s health claims violate FDA guidelines. Each 20 oz bottle of Vitaminwater contains 33 grams of sugar and 125 calories. Vitaminwater’s health claims may violate the FDA’s jelly bean policy — where you can’t claim that a jelly bean is healthy because is has no cholesterol. See “ Is Vitaminwater Really a Healthy Drink? ” in Time (July 30, 2010). What do you think? If not legal, is it ethical for Coca-Cola to make the health claims it makes? Every consumer for themselves? Or should the [Continue Reading …]