Brand Ethics

20 Apr 2004|Added Value

Following on my last post, I gave a presentation last night to the SF chapter of the National Charity League. Thirty mothers of teenage daughters listened as I explained how consumers and media are changing, and how marketers and advertisers are responding.

It was different talking to an audience of media consumers, rather than marketers. This was most apparent in the questions they asked throughout. It’s easy to explain to a client why they should care about things that are important in their customers lives. It’s very hard to explain to a mom why a company would ignore what’s important (or in their opinion, ethical) just to promote a brand.

One mother asked how she was supposed to deal with things like Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘group sex’ catalog and how a company can market so irresponsibly. It’s hard to answer, except to explain that consumers really do have power. In November, A&F sales dropped 13% partially due to boycotts and the catalog was pulled.

In listening to these smart and involved women, one thing was clear. While youth have spending power and influence, mothers still hold sway. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off parent.

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