Corporations need to incorporate integrity

ArashTadjiki4_9 Colby Patterson
Arash Tadjiki

Arash Tadjiki

Marketing is a very broad field. The jobs can range anywhere from working at an advertising agency selling spaces in magazines to creating new marketing strategies to launch a specific brand. Over the years, marketing strategies have become increasingly complex because of two qualities: a need to develop a larger audience, and new rules around products and how to sell them. There have been hundreds of false advertising scandals — some that cost companies millions of dollars. Dannon yogurt had to pay $45 million in damages to the consumers and had to shift their marketing scheme. The Sugar Association filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Splenda arguing that the company’s “made from sugar” claim was inaccurate — Splenda is made from a combination of chemicals. The two reached a settlement under the table.

Many companies have learned from these examples, with an obvious example is the Cookie Dough Oreo marketing strategy. On their label it says “made with chocolatey chips,” thus avoiding an FDA rule violation. The chips used by Oreo did not meet the FDA definition of chocolate, but the brilliant people who created this campaign found a way around that problem. The package also advertises cookie dough, followed by “flavor creme,” since actual cookie dough is not an ingredient. Oreo avoided angering FDA officials by including these small clarifications. Although this is not exactly false advertising, I believe the public opinion would argue differently.

It is unclear to the public what can and cannot be said on a label. For instance, I would have thought chocolatey meant chocolate and that they were just trying to make a cute statement. Although companies cannot be completely honest with their consumers — McDonalds would never sell another Big Mac — I think the companies should maintain a sense of integrity. There must be a sense of trust in the marketing world. Consumers need to trust that what is being said is true, and companies need to trust that you are going to keep buying their product. I think there needs to be clarity between the marketing schemes and the public. There needs to be a more honest dialogue about what is for sale and what you are consuming.