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
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