Uptown, Dakota and Powermaster--Case Study Analysis

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  • Topic: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, R. J. Reynolds, Pall Mall
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Uptown, Dakota and Powermaster
---Case Study Analysis

Course Name: Marketing Ethics (M)
Student Name: TING WANG
Student number: 1601392
I. Background of the Case
In 1989, R.J. Reynolds announced to introduce a plan for Uptown, the cigarettes designed to target at black smokers. However, Uptown never reached the shelves because the opposition of some interest groups. In 1990, R.J. Reynolds begun to sell Dakota, which were a new cigarette brand targeted primarily at 18 to 24 years old female. In 1990, the alcohol producer Heileman Brewing Company launched a new high-alcohol drink PowerMaster, in order to targeted at black customers. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and G. Heileman Brewing Co. targeted the minority and ethnic groups. The segmentation marketing strategy of the cigarette and alcohol company induced some controversy marketing problems (Smith, 1995). II. Ethical Issues of the Company

The ethical issue of R.J. Reynolds and G. Heileman Brewing was the same: they targeted the consumer segments viewed as “vulnerable” with the unhealthy products. Although marketing segmentation is an important marketing strategy for the company, the introduction of Uptown, Dakota and PowerMaster have resulted in controversy and even criticized as unethical because the products targeted at those people who are in lower income and with fewer education experience. 2.1 Ethical Issues Related Uptown and Dakota

(source: http://www.naaapi.org/documents/uptown.asp)

With sales amount declining, R.J. Reynolds announced to introduce Uptown to seek new customers. Uptown is designed according to the black customers’ performance with lighter menthol and upside down filter. Uptown was charged for its misleading advertisement message brought more disease to a group with high smoking illness and mortality (Richard J, 1998). Although the plan of Uptown was cancelled because of the strong against of the social interest groups, the company’s segmentation strategy was implemented via other brands such as Dakota. Dakota targeted young female through the use of younger slim models and the advertisement slogan to mislead the young women smokers. Most of the targeted customers of Dakota were white female with high school degrees or blue-collar workers. They were so young to have good self-control awareness or the ability to judge true or false from the advertisement. And the company advocated Dakota as slim cigarettes and appealed the young female customers with misleading message. 2.2 Ethical Issues Related to PowerMaster

PowerMaster is a malt liquor that drawn criticism from health organizations, which charged the company promoted the products to poor blacks and inner-city neighborhoods. According to the investigation of these organizations, alcohol was connected to many serious social problems, such as suicide and family violence. And the black men had a 40 percentage higher death of liver cancer than the white people (Bureau of National Affairs, 1991).

(Source: http://www.google.com.au/search?q=powermaster&hl) III. Relevant Interactions and Connections of the Stakeholders There are eleven stakeholders involved in this case study. In the following part, I will use the stakeholder interaction model to identify the specific stakeholders and the relevant interactions and connections among them. And find how they think and value the ethical issues and their decision.

The stakeholder interaction model

(Source: Maignan, Ferrell and Ferrell, 2003)

3.1 Company (Management)
Company: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR); G. Heileman Brewing Co. Senior administrator: RJR’s CEO; RJR’s Marketing VP: Peter Hoult; Spokesperson; Marketing VP of Philip Morris Co. Both of...
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