The ethical contradiction

Rhiannon Jones, talking about Body Shop, makes an interesting point (MW last week). As a society, we seem to have strangely contradictory attitudes to consumer ethics (or at least those of us in the middle classes do). On the one hand, people stand on corners every week, handing out leaflets against animal testing and exploitative trading, and our children march against capitalism and throw things at Niketown. On the other, we seem quite happy to buy hair dyes, shampoos and deodorant that have been unnecessarily tested on animals (when did you last hear of a supermodel being castigated for promoting cruelty?), and to drink coffee by the gallon, only rarely asking where it came from. This poses a great dilemma to the marketer, both professionally and personally. Is it worth ensuring, as Tesco does, that most of your toiletries are not animal-tested, when hardly anyone cares? Should you forget your personal ethics when advising a company on these matters, and if so, why? And does “ethical” shopping make a difference anyway? Let’s hope so.

Rod Petersen

RTS Brantic



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