After working really hard to distinguish yourself, you’ve finally been promoted to senior account executive at a major advertising agency and placed in charge of the agency’s newest account, a nationally known cereal company. Their product is one you know contains excessive amounts of sugar as well as artificial colorings and lacks any nutritional value whatsoever. In fact, you have never allowed your own children to eat it.
Your boss has indicated that the cereal company would like to use the slogan “It’s good for you” in their new television and print advertising campaign. You know that a $2 billion lawsuit has been filed against the Kellogg and Viacom corporations for marketing junk food to young children. The suit cited “alluring product packaging, toy giveaways, contests, collectibles, kid-oriented websites, magazine ads, and branded toys and clothes.” In addition, two consumer groups have brought suit against children’s television network Nickelodeon for “unfair and deceptive junk-food marketing.”
Your new role at the agency will be tested with this campaign. Doing a good job on it will cement your position and put you in line for a promotion to vice president. But as a responsible parent, you have strong feelings about misleading advertising targeted at susceptible children.
Using a web search tool, locate articles about this topic and then write responses to the following questions. Be sure to support your arguments and cite your sources.
Ethical Dilemma: Do you follow your principles and ask to be transferred to another account? Or do you help promote a cereal you know may be harmful to children in order to secure your career?
Sources: James Schroeder, “To the Heart of the Matter: We Are What We Eat,” Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com, September 11, 2017; Lizzie Parry, “Popular Cereals Contain Up to a Third of Your Kids’ Sugar Intake,” The Sun, https://www.thesun.co.uk, February 8, 2017; Stephanie Thompson, “Kellogg Co. Might as Well Have Painted a Bull’s-eye on Itself,” Advertising Age, January 23, 2006; and Abbey Klaassen, “Viacom Gets Nicked,” Advertising Age, January 23, 2006.