Advance Discussion

Read the case study below, and put yourself in Maria’s position to answer these questions:

  1. What is the ethical issue that Maria faces?
  2. Who benefits/loses if she decides to do as Hans says?
  3. What would you do if you were in her shoes? What does this decision reveal about you?

Cosmetic Applications

Topic: Package Labeling and Advertising

Characters:

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.

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