Definition of Marketing Ethics and Social Responsibility
According to Pride and Ferrel, (2006), marketing ethics refers to those moral principles that define acceptable and unruly behavior in marketing. Businesses that effectively manage ethics are able to make informed decisions. Organizations or companies applying ethics in decision-making will avoid crisis and allow the organization to react appropriately when handling public crisis.
Social responsibility refers to an organization’s duty to maximize its positive impact and reduce its negative impact on the society (Pride and Ferrel, 2006). In addition, all decisions of marketing in the society involve social responsibility (Pride and Ferrel, 2006). Companies that ignore social responsibility may end up losing valuable customers and employees. Some of the benefits of a company being socially responsible include increased market share, employee retention and recruitment increase, improved company and brand image, reduced operating costs and increased investment opportunities in the company (Linda, 2001).
McDonalds Marketing Practices
McDonalds uses a variety of marketing practices to promote their product. An example of this is advertising using different personalities in different regions to get their message across. One of the main agendas in their promotional campaigns is to portray McDonalds as a comfort area for families (Kulkarni, Lassar and Sridhar, 2009). In their promotional campaigns, McDonalds use children as an entry strategy to their families. In addition, McDonalds is spreading out to reach new markets in the world. By releasing salads with fruits and vegetables, McDonalds is trying to reach the healthy portion of customers (Gibison, 2008).
McDonalds uses marketing strategies such as social marketing to reach a broad range of fast food consumers especially the teens. In addition, the brand strategy mainly focuses on advertising through electronic media (Kulkarni, Lassar and Sridhar, 2009). Through this, they portray an image of emotional appeal that shows family ties and fun at McDonalds. Moreover, use of audio visual creates more impact on viewers by displaying a fun filled environment at McDonalds (Kulkarni, Lassar and Sridhar, 2009).
Furthermore, McDonald’s strength lies in its brand; this is recognizable among all levels of age groups. For instance, in India, McDonalds embarked on what they called Indianization of the brand, which assisted them to penetrate the market in India (Kulkarni, Lassar and Sridhar, 2009).
Justification of Unethical Practices
Despite the fact that McDonalds is involved in supporting children with life threatening sickness, the food varieties offered by McDonalds contributes heavily to diseases such as obesity especially in young children, asthma, and heart diseases (Gibison, 2008). Furthermore, the ever-increasing presence of fast food joints in many hospitals seems to show their unethical practices.
McDonald’s negative impact on some foreign cultures has come under heavy criticism (Gibison, 2008). This is evident in China where parents are complaining that the presence of McDonalds is robbing them of their culture. Most Chinese children prefer to buy McDonalds products rather than settle for their traditional meals.
Despite the efforts of McDonalds coming up with a corporate social responsibility document, a lot seems to remain undone since complaints continue to increase. McDonalds using visible and practical measures will ensure that they meet their corporate social responsibility objectives.
Gibison A., 2008. McDonalds: A Good Image with Bad Ethics [pdf]. Available at: <http://www.neumann.edu/academics/divisions/business/journal/review_08/Gibison.pdf>
[Accessed 15 March 2012].
Kulkarni, S., Lassar, W. and Sridhar, C., 2009. McDonald’s Ongoing Marketing Challenge:
Social Perception in India [pdf]. Available at < http://ojica.fiu.edu/index.php/ojica_journal/article/viewFile/19/18> [Accessed 15 March 2012].
Linda, F., 2001. Teaching Marketing Ethics in the 21st Century. Marketing Education Review.
Summer Issue, pp 1-16.
Pride, W.M. and Ferrell, O.C., 2006. 13th ed. Marketing: Concepts and Strategies. Boston