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Thursday, June 29, 2006


Commentary: Evita and Marketing Ethics

Evita and Marketing Ethics

(see Lyrics to Rainbow High)


Key Concept: Style vs. Substance

This lyrics from Rainbow High are particularly illustrative of the emphasis that Marketing communications can place on the Style of a product/service/person versus the actual Substance of the subject.

Think about toothpaste: On the shelves of Walmart are already 40 different kinds of toothpaste; yet consumer product companies continue to 'develop' and introduce new toothpastes to the market. Is there really a need for the 41st kind of toothpaste? More to the point, will that 41st kind of toothpaste do something substantively new or different that the 40 other kinds do not?

Now think about men's shaving razors: The Gillette Fusion -- what does a 5-bladed razor do that its 4-bladed and 3-bladed competitors do not do? Most men will agree that the substantive differences are marginal at best. Yet Gillette spent $100 million (if memory serves me correctly) on a marketing campaign for the Fusion.

Question: What aspects of these products are being 'marketed'???

Answer: The Stylistic elements that have been conjured up and created by the marketing firms that created the advertising and branding campaigns. To borrow key words from Rainbow High, its the style, glamour, excitement, and image that's being marketed.

Is that ethical? Is public value being created, or is there merely a transference of wealth that is occurring from consumers to the marketing company and its client?


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