Benetton Brouhaha - Is Benetton’s Approach to Advertising as Depicted in “Benetton Brouhaha” More Strategic or Structural in Nature?

Topics: Benetton Group, Benetton family, Oliviero Toscani Pages: 11 (3770 words) Published: April 14, 2011
Marketing 601 Assignment 1 Benetton Brouhaha

Benetton Brouhaha
Is Benetton’s approach to advertising as depicted in “Benetton Brouhaha” more strategic or structural in nature? The purpose of this paper is to practice critical thinking by applying elements of reasoning to the article “Benetton Brouhaha”. The question I will answer: “Is Benetton’s approach to advertising as depicted in the article more strategic or structural in nature?” I will approach this question by applying critical thinking concepts with an eye to the established Elements of Reasoning as they apply to the case. I will analyze the “Benetton Brouhaha” by looking at concepts, theories, definitions, axioms, laws, principles, and models; specifically by applying concepts from the Virtue Matrix and others as they apply. I will outline information; data, facts, observations, and experiences from the article itself and provide reference to related additional material. I will consider my own experience and perspective to bring balance to the observation. In the process where gaps in information exist, I will make certain assumptions and will state them as such, explaining why the assumption is relevant. I will consider all relative points of view, describing the stakeholders and why they are relevant. Finally, I will provide my interpretation/conclusion. I will answer the question of “Is Benetton’s approach to advertising as depicted in “Benetton Brouhaha” more strategic or structural in nature?” I will apply the applicable concepts of the elements of reasoning. As instructed, I will not address the implications and consequences of Benetton’s action.

Concepts
The Virtue Matrix- Calculating Return on Corporate Responsibility by Roger L. Martin is a useful concept to help decide if the Benetton’s approach to advertising is strategic or structural in nature. What is meant by strategic versus structural and how does the Virtue Matrix help me answer that question?

Civil Foundation Quadrants-Instrumental
The matrix is made up of four quadrants; the bottom two are the civil “foundation” and the top two are the “frontier”. In the foundation of the quadrant, the two sectors represent what Martin calls “common law” of corporate behavior; taken together they promote socially responsible behavior and enhance shareholder value. On one side are the behaviors a company engages in by choice; in accordance with customs but not necessarily driven by laws. On the other side is compliance; socially responsible behavior mandated by laws. It’s important to understand that companies engage in activities on the “choice” side due to external pressures from society that are placed on them in addition to laws. Customers expect a certain level of ethical behavior from a company even though that behavior is not compelled by laws or enforceable by any other means than customer response. While there is no law per se, a company would be foolish to not recognize the importance of social norms and customs because they could be punished by the society itself by not purchasing the goods or services offered by that company. Something that is important to understand about the foundation and the boundary between the choice and compliance sides is that the boundary is porous. That is to say that an activity on the left quadrantchoice side often becomes so engrained in a society that it becomes law or regulation, effectively moving that behavior toward the right-compliance side of the foundation. Another important concept is that the upper boundary between the foundation and the frontier quadrants is not fixed either. Martin explains that in robust economies the boundary moves upward over time. New social benefits (from the frontiers quadrants) move to the foundation and become norms and eventually legal requirements. In weaker economies sometimes the boundary shifts down as norms are weakened and society expects less from companies. Viewed from a global perspective, the upper boundary may...
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