A survey last week by Business in the Community suggested that cause-
related and ethical marketing is going to be the next big thing. It
found that businesses are seriously underestimating its worth as a
marketing tool and that consumers expect companies to be more socially
While ethics play a bigger role in purchasing decisions, marketers
should not get carried away with trying to be too right-on. Banning
Action Man from the Co-op is a case in point. As part of a policy to
stop selling toys that are perceived to incite violence, the store has
blacklisted the UK’s sixth best-selling toy.
If marketing is to embrace ethics it must not alienate consumers by
being holier-than-thou. While the Co-op may be acting in good faith,
consumers are more likely to be concerned about the control of real
guns, not the type held by ‘grippy hands’.