Tag Archives: ethics

Marketing Used for Good

We commonly think of using marketing principles and practices to promote business and grow revenue. And that’s fine – up to a certain point. However, marketing can be so much more.

We know that marketing is used to grow businesses and organizations. Increased revenue usually leads to new research and development, new products and services, and strong returns for shareholders and stakeholders. Lots of people benefit from this. And that’s good. But it is only part of the story. Marketing can also be used to help society in very powerful ways.

In one example, advertising agency Havas Tel Aviv recently used it powers for good when it partnered with Laisha, a popular women’s magazine in Tel Aviv, to promote a domestic abuse hotline. A study of women in Israel had found that most women were not even aware that a  hotline number for domestic abuse even existed. Therefore, for the promotion the agency created a simple cover page for Laisha with the 24/7 helpline phone number in large white letters on a black background. Basically, making it an impossible-to-miss cover. The text stated that women who suffer from domestic violence are not alone – and that the anonymous phone line offers help in all languages.

The result: An increase in calls to the hotline by 500%!

Musicians and artists also are powerful contributors to social programs and awareness. Several years ago rapper Logic recorded the song titled “1-800-273-8255,” directing young people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number. The song chronicled a youth’s journey through depression to a suicide prevention call. The song was nominated for Grammy awards for song of the year and best music video as well as a MTV music video award. But the most stunning result was the increase in calls for help during its release.

The results: 9,915 more calls to the support line were made in the 34-day period after the Grammy and MTV Music Award shows! The song’s impact contributed to an estimated 245 fewer suicides over the same period. That’s powerful!

Consider: Marketing makes a difference in many ways.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how marketers can be active with social responsibility and justice.
  2. What skill sets translate from corporations to community service?
  3. Show Logic’s video: https://youtu.be/Kb24RrHIbFk
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a social issue or a community program that they admire.
  5. Challenge each team to develop a marketing tactic to highlight the ways in with the programs can help people.
  6. Alternatively, have each team research an existing social program and analyze its messaging and tactics (ex: Red Cross, Big Brothers, etc.)

Sources: Ansari, T., (Dec. 15, 2021). Rapper Logic’s song about suicide prevention may have saved hundreds of lives, study says, Wall Street Journal; Griner, D. (Dec. 2, 2021). This magazine cover boosted calls to an abuse hotline by 500%. Ad Week.

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The Rise of Used Clothing Purchasing

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed shopping habits – both what we buy as well as how we buy. Work clothes such as suits and ties are trending down, and more relaxed and casual clothes are trending up. But that’s only part of the story. Sustainability in clothing is also on an upward trend.

To learn more about this, a survey by Adweek-Morning Consult surveyed 2,200 U.S. adults about where they buy clothing, and how they dispose of clothing they no longer want. Among the survey results findings was that 70% of Americans think sustainability is at least somewhat important when deciding how to get rid of unneeded clothing. And, 65% said that sustainability is at least somewhat important when selecting clothing to wear.

Other findings:

  • 79% have purchased used clothing at some point.
  • 20% buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 30% of Millennials buy used clothing most or all of the time.
  • 18% of Gen Z buy used clothing at least most of the time.
  • 72% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials said sustainability was at least somewhat important.
  • 79% said they considered donating clothing as a sustainable option.
  • 59% felt selling clothing was sustainable.

While the numbers are promising, the proof is in the implementation for clothing companies. A recent agreement between Madewell and clothing resale platform thredUP aims to capitalize on this. Madewell (owned by J. Crew) will have a dedicated microsite the its website and will offer a curated selection of used (or ‘preloved’) Madewell jeans.

Old jeans can be brought to Madewell stores, which then assesses the condition of the clothes. If the clothing can live on, it is sold to someone. If the jeans are a little too worn to be sold, they are recycled into housing insulation through Blue Jeans Go Green. The lower price of Madewell jeans on the resales website also opens up sales to a market that is unable or unwilling to pay the high price of new jeans.

What did you buy lately?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What types of clothes do they buy? New or used? Where? Why?
  2. View thredUP’s 2021 resale report: https://www.thredup.com/resale/#resale-industry
  3. Show thredUP website: https://www.thredup.com/
  4. Show Madewell preowned site: https://madewellforever.thredup.com/
  5. Show Blue Jeans Go Green site: https://bluejeansgogreen.org/
  6. In teams, have students go to these websites and browse clothing items.
  7. Have them consider price, style, etc.
  8. Now that they have viewed resale websites, have their attitudes about buying and clothing changed?
  9. How can sustainability issues be addressed by other clothing manufacturers and retailers?

Source:  AdWeek

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No More Cash or Credit Cards. Instead: “Do you take palms?”

When you shop, how do you pay? Do you use cash, credit/debit card, check, or mobile? And, when you enter campus buildings or work, do you use an access card or code? Ever wish there was an easier way to do these things so you don’t have to worry about carrying a wallet or cards?

Well, if Amazon One gets adopted in the marketplace, then you can pay for items and access buildings using just your palm. Yep, that’s right. Put your hand right there and access is granted.

Amazon is now using its palm-scanning payment system in a Seattle (Wash.) Whole Foods store. This expand the testing of Amazon One beyond Amazon Go and Amazon Book stores, and the company says thousands of customers have signed up to use the new service.

How does it work? The palm-scanning device analyzes “the minute characteristics of your palm – both surface-area details like lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns” to identify customers and use palms to pay. But first, customers must register their palms at a kiosk in the Whole Foods store and link a credit/debit card to the payment. Easy. Since palm prints are unique, and your hands are attached to your body, only you can unlock the payments. And, in the times of contagious diseases such as Covid-19, the payment is truly contactless – you don’t touch a thing at checkout.

Amazon is also exploring selling the technology to other companies, so perhaps you will see this at a store (or office) near you next year. However, there are concerns about security and privacy as the data is stored on a cloud.

Raise your hand if you’re willing to use palm recognition systems.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How do they pay for most of their shopping? Cash, check, credit/debit card?
  2. How would they feel about using palm prints as payment/recognition systems?
  3. Show the Amazon One website and video: https://one.amazon.com/
  4. Show news video: https://youtu.be/rf7por-57yI
  5. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for launching new products.
  6. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid for Amazon One Palm Payment service.
  8. When debriefing the exercise, make sure to emphasize to students the difference between what a company wants to tell the market, and what a customer wants to hear about the product.

Source: Reuters; The Verge; other news sources

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