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Ethics of Target Marketing: Process, Product or Target?
Unformatted Document Text:  12 their loyalty and therefore were not able to ethically evaluate the product. This lack of consumer evaluation is what makes these public relations tactics more ethically questionable. An examination of some advertising strategies that were implemented simultaneously with the previously discussed public relations tactics will demonstrate how tactical differences between these two methods of persuasion impact ethical evaluations. In a study examining tobacco advertising in the alternative press, Sepe et al (2002) found that between 1994 and 1999 the numbers of tobacco advertisements increased from 8 to 337 in San Francisco and from 8 to 351 in Philadelphia. Other researchers have documented product placements in movies and entertainment media (Cumings et at, 2002) and bar-related promotional events (Katz et al, 2002). Tobacco companies also gave out incentives, such as t-shirts, hats, and bar paraphernalia to increase visibility. For example, a 1989 Brown & Williamson memo recommended that the company “develop a drink stirrer/napkin holder to be placed at each bar station. This could be a permanent piece of advertisement after the promotion is completed,” (Katz, 2002; p. 95). In addition, several tobacco companies focused on brand trial and sampling in bars such as Virginia Slims and RJ Reynold’s Dakota brand (Katz, 2002). All of the above communication strategies fall under advertising because the sponsor is clearly identified and the advertising is paid for by this sponsor; in the case of the alternative press, the mass media is the method of delivery. However, it should be noted that the promotional items are more deceptive, and thus more unethical, than the print advertisements because they do not carry the Surgeon General’s health warning that is required for advertising, and thus may be deceptive (Davis, 1987).

Authors: Fisher, Brooke A..
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their loyalty and therefore were not able to ethically evaluate the product. This lack of
consumer evaluation is what makes these public relations tactics more ethically
questionable. An examination of some advertising strategies that were implemented
simultaneously with the previously discussed public relations tactics will demonstrate
how tactical differences between these two methods of persuasion impact ethical
evaluations.
In a study examining tobacco advertising in the alternative press, Sepe et al (2002)
found that between 1994 and 1999 the numbers of tobacco advertisements increased from
8 to 337 in San Francisco and from 8 to 351 in Philadelphia. Other researchers have
documented product placements in movies and entertainment media (Cumings et at,
2002) and bar-related promotional events (Katz et al, 2002). Tobacco companies also
gave out incentives, such as t-shirts, hats, and bar paraphernalia to increase visibility. For
example, a 1989 Brown & Williamson memo recommended that the company “develop a
drink stirrer/napkin holder to be placed at each bar station. This could be a permanent
piece of advertisement after the promotion is completed,” (Katz, 2002; p. 95). In
addition, several tobacco companies focused on brand trial and sampling in bars such as
Virginia Slims and RJ Reynold’s Dakota brand (Katz, 2002). All of the above
communication strategies fall under advertising because the sponsor is clearly identified
and the advertising is paid for by this sponsor; in the case of the alternative press, the
mass media is the method of delivery. However, it should be noted that the promotional
items are more deceptive, and thus more unethical, than the print advertisements because
they do not carry the Surgeon General’s health warning that is required for advertising,
and thus may be deceptive (Davis, 1987).


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