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MKT630 International Marketing Assignment 1 Solution Spring 2014

Dear Students
A case study has been selected for this assignment and uploaded in the download section of
LMS. You can find it from the following link;
http://vulms.vu.edu.pk/Courses/MKT630/Downloads/Cultural_Norms_Fair_and_Lovely_and_A
dvertising.pdf
Read this case study carefully and try to answer the following questions (ignore the question
available in that case study).
Questions:
10 Marks Each
1. Is it ethical to sell a product that is, at best, only mildly effective? Discuss

We know that the words effective and efficient are not the same words.Fullifilling a goal by using all the resources is called effective while fullfilling a the same goal using lowest possibl resources is called efficient.So in general selling a product that is not or only slightly effective, while pretending that it is efficient, is unethical. Particularly, in case a vendor is cheating on the customer and capitalizes on people’s misery. However, the question of good or bad ethics in this context depends very much on the setting and the cultural circumstances of producer and consumer as well as on the product itself. The present case dealing with HLL as well as CKL, the established vendors of skin lighting cream on the Indian market for many years, illustrates a situation in which the producer encounters the consumers´ strongly culturally positioned desire of fair skin, by offering a skin lightning product, which is from a dermatologist’s point of view considered to be ineffective (“reaches only the upper layer of the skin”, “does not affect melanin production and gives a poor result”) or at least short-lived (“whitens facial hair and not the skin”). Nevertheless, Indian women keep on using these products for years, but will never notice lasting effects.

So, while considering the consumers´ point of view we need to understand that they use the product to fulfil their desire for societal recognition, particularly by their peers. Therefore, it is less the use of the product but more the psychological effect that the product provides to the consumer. From a managing point of view the advertisement’s aim is to present the product at its best aspect,it is the marketer’s responsibility to anlyze the strengths of the product and find its weaknesses.So from this point of view it is not unethical.

2. Is it ethical to exploit cultural norms and values to promote a product? Discuss.

Regarding the issue of selling a product that is mildly effective, I believe that this is an unethical business practice. It was obviously pointed out by Indian dermatologists that fairness products cannot truly work because they only reach the upper layers of the skin and are therefore, unable to effect melanin production. HLL’s marketing tactic were misleading, because they did not represent both the positive and negative feedback from their customers, solely feeding off of and exploiting cultural norms. The company advertised in a way that would mislead the public to believe that their products would make them accepted within a culture divided by social hierarchies, which is also unethical.

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