Read the case study below, and put yourself in Maria’s position to answer these questions:
- What is the ethical issue that Maria faces?
- Who benefits/loses if she decides to do as Hans says?
- What would you do if you were in her shoes? What does this decision reveal about you?
Topic: Package Labeling and Advertising
Hans, Cosmetics Group Product Marketing Manager
Maria, Assistant Marketing Communications Manager
Maria is an Assistant Marketing Communications Manager with TruBlush Cosmetics, a
manufacturer of facial cream and other skin moisturizing products. She is relatively new to
the cosmetics industry, being a recent college graduate with limited “real world” experience.
As part of her orientation, however, she recently had the opportunity to spend one week with
the TruBlush marketing research group, sitting in on several focus group discussions with
regular cosmetics users.
Today Hans stopped Maria in the hallway and told her to coordinate the artwork on both
the new package label design and the storyboards for an upcoming advertising campaign, to
reflect an increase in the recommended application of a facial cream product from one to
three applications daily. While delighted with the opportunity to finally be assigned
something substantive where she can demonstrate what she is capable of doing, she is
troubled by the directive.
Maria recalls that in each of the four focus group sessions the week before, the majority of
consumers interviewed revealed that just one application of this product “did the job.” While
changing the recommended usage would dearly contribute to additional sales volume, what
she knows about the product indicates that such an increase would not significantly benefit
consumers. On the other hand, Hans is the Group Product Marketing Manager, and he makes
the decisions on promoting recent hires for this product.
Author: Richard F. Belhamini, Associate Professor of Marketing and Advertising, Arizona State University.