Monday, November 23, 2015

Marlboro: Targeting Minors Worldwide in their Ads (2012)

Case Controversy
Marlor logo
In 2011 the advertising campaign started in Germany kicking off a series of campaigns that would spread worldwide. Some of the many slogans included “No More Maybe’’, "Maybe Never Fell in Love”, Maybe Never Wrote a Song”. All these billboards ended with Be Marlboro. Marlboro started targeting teenagers with a variety of ads. The fact of the matter is that they are deliberately putting their advertisements in strategic places where many youths can see them easily and recognize the product. Millions on top of millions children use public transportation mainly buses for transportation to school and wherever else they need to go. Bus stops and train stops have become one of the most advertised locations in these countries. Every day they are looking at Be Marlboro posters and different ads in their daily life. This campaign is being run in mainly impoverished nations that do not have strict regulations at all Most of Marlboro advertising to youths have come in third world and second world Nations.

The stakeholders are the people effected by targeting of minors from Marlboro and their advertisement campaigns. The main stakeholder is Phillip Morris International the Parent company of Marlboro and also the children that became victims of the ads. Marlboro spent over $200 million on the "Be Marlboro" campaign. They sent these ads on 6 different continents and over 75 countries world wide. There were many resources invested to make this work. Also the children and Adolescents , they had no idea what the health effects of cigarettes were but Marlboro created a marketing strategy that exploited this age range. They lured them in by showing Marlboro as the "it" thing to do and 'Cool Kid' image.

Marlboro advertisement aiming towards minors
The Main goal in the individualism theory is to maximize profits for the owners, which in this case is the stockholders of Phillip Morris. In addition to do correct business with in the law and look out for their shareholders best interest. “Marlboro global growth is due in large part to PMIs aggressive marketing” (Kids, 2014). The company has shown great profits internationally regardless of how they are marketing the campaign has been maximizing the shareholders profits. All of the countries have relatively weak law restriction so therefore Marlboro is technically running the operation under the law. Marlboro has seen over $8.6 Billion dollars in profits in 2013. Even though they are targeting minors since the fact is that they are maximizing profit under the law then it is considered ethical.

For many teenagers around the world they are lost and are looking for a direction. They want to be the cool kid and they want to fit in and be “that” kid. For Example in 2012 in Tunisia Marlboro ran campaigns in which showed videos of attractive teenagers having the time of their life. Everyone was dancing laughing looking good and being the “cool” kids you can say. Now most kids looking for direction would see that video and be like I want to be a part of that atmosphere I want to be like them. At the end of the Ad it said don’t be a Maybe Be Marlboro. At the end of the day kids instantly recognized with smoking Marlboro Cigarettes will bring them that joy and sense of “ being cool”. The campaigns have brought millions of adolescent’s short time – happiness, and under the Utilitarianism theory that is considered Ethical.

Kantianism states that people/business should be motivated by goodwill in their actions and be rational in their decisions. They should inform the people they are interacting with and allow them to make rational decisions. A Kantian does not deceive or take advantage of people that are vulnerable. These minors are vulnerable, to begin with they are working every day to get by and PMI is preying on them. PMI is showing them a false image of what a cigarette can do, PMI knows that their target market is looking for a brighter life and they strategically lie and false advertise allow their consumers to make very irrational decisions. There is absolutely no goodwill from the side of PMI in their business practices it is pretty much a cancer stick and they are cashing on vulnerable people. A Kantian would considered their practices extremely unethical.

Virtue Theory
Another Marlboro advertisement aiming toward minors
The Virtue Theory is based on four main characteristics, which consist of courage, honesty, temperance, and justice/fairness. These four main characteristics are virtues. In order for a business to be virtuous they must meet these virtues.They lack courage because they are not standing up for what is right. PMI has been through many government hearings especially in the US regarding children advertising. They have seen all the research and to still turn a blind eye to the facts. They continue to advertise in these nations where they are able to and don’t bother to stand up for what’s right. They are completely not honest. PMI Provides a false image of how cigarette can improve a teenager’s life. They never once mentioned the life threatening conditions that come along with smoking.For the virtue of temperance a business must have reasonable expectations and desires. PMI has always been a company with high expectations in terms of profits but whether or not their desires are reasonable I’d beg to differ. PMI is selling cancer sticks to kids, these kids haven’t even fully developed. A Fair business is one of hard work, quality product, good ideas, and good practices. Marlboro has unfair and unreasonable expectations because they advertise in areas where many youths are present. They cannot reasonably expect children to not be influenced when they are marketing near candy stores and bus stations. The result of all these virtues is that Marlboro is unethical.

Justified Ethics Evaluation
Creators of Marlboro, Phillip Morris USA
The way by which PMI has marketed to minors internationally is completely wrong. I believe that they are complete mistaken of their actions. They have managed to face little resistance from governments in nations that are hurting for money. These campaigns are occurring in countries where starvation, poverty, crime, and disease are main issues. The have been allowed to feast on these people and specifically minors. Most of the minors are children that are working and not even going to school in order to survive and help their family survive. These are extremely vulnerable people and they are just kids looking for a sense of direction. PMI believe that by their Marlboro cigarette will show these kids a life full of great things in fact they are selling them cancer sticks that are doing absolute nothing but harming them. They are traces of deceiving, lying, and manipulating in PMI practices, which are all being done in order to get extreme profits. What has been done here by Marlboro is wrong.

Khan, N. (2014). Global tobacco marketing campaign accused of targeting minors. Retrieved from Al Jazeera America:

Kids, C. f.-F. (2014, March). You're the Target. Retrieved from FCTC:

Marlboro marketing campaign aimed at young people, anti-tobacco report says. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Guardian:

Salazar, H. (2011, Feb). Kantian Business Ethics. Retrieved from Powerpoint.

Salazar, H. (2015). The Business Ethics Case Manual.

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