Ethical Issues in Marketing




Ethical Issues in Marketing

Module Code

Ethical Issues in Marketing- case study

Case Study Task
The case study forms the second assessment of the module. It is an individual paper worth
50% of the overall module mark. The case study assessment is this:
Critically evaluate how Western fashion brands should respond to the controversy
surrounding the treatment of garment workers in Asia.
The topic links to a number of marketing related themes – corporate social responsibility,
ethical consumption, brand image, and public relations.
The issue of good corporate citizenship is important to all managers and it is increasingly
important to marketing professionals. Brands are now expected to “do the right thing”
when facing the social and ethical issues of our time. Failure to do so can have negative
implications for the brand in the marketplace and it can weaken the beneficial effects of the
marketing effort of the business. Consumers may even boycott a brand that is seen to be
unethical or to have behaved badly. Conversely, a brand that has shown itself to be a good
corporate citizen may benefit from a consumer “buycott” and corporate virtue may even
help to achieve competitive advantage.
The assignment considers the alleged poor working conditions of workers in the garment
industry in Asia who make products for Western fashion brands. Allegations of ill treatment
and exploitation of workers create ethical issues for many Western fashion brands that
outsource production to Asia. From a marketing perspective, allegations of unethical
practice in the production process present issues in terms of brand perception and
positioning with the potential threat of consumer boycott potentially leading to erosion of
brand credibility and market share.
You are asked to consider why the public concern about factory conditions in Asia should
worry you as a marketer / brand manager, and to consider what might be done to minimise
the negative impact on your brand.
It is important to note that it is usually not the fashion brands that mistreat garment
production workers directly. The Western fashion brands often do not own the garment
factories where exploitation takes place, and many brands do have codes of ethical conduct
which describe how they aim to behave. However, the problem is potential for bad

publicity for these brands because they commission manufacture of garments from local
Asian manufacturers where abuses have been shown to take place. It is very difficult for the
Western fashion brands to monitor and control what happens in the factories. Therefore,
consumers may tend to blame the fashion brands for sweatshops and other issues. As a
marketer any issue that may affect how consumers feel about our brand is your concern.
These sources will help you to prepare your paper. You can use some of them and
reference them in your paper if you want. However, obviously there are other sources out
there too so you should find other sources as well to make your paper more unique. Do not
forget that you should include a fair number of ACADEMIC SOURCES in your paper’s
reference list. Submissions with little or no academic sources will probably fail. For relevant
academic sources check Google Scholar.

Garment Workers’ Human Rights Day 2019.

Human Rights Day 2019: In solidarity with garment workers


BOOWHO? It’s time to #GoTransparent

Pakistan Garment Industry Safety Report
Collapse of Cambodia Garment Factory Building
Video on Garment Factory Workers in Cambodia

Garment Workers in Vietnam
Evaluation of H&M and other Brands
Inditex Code of Conduct for Manufacturers
Don’t forget also that you need to include a portfolio of 5 documents or visual sources as an
appendix with a paragraph for each source to explain why you found each source
interesting / helpful. Remember too that you must include some theoretical content in your

paper. Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Public Relations are relevant areas of
theory. Do not fall into the trap of just telling a story about sweatshops. A suggested
structure for your paper is provided on the next page followed by marking criteria.
Preliminaries Comment
A Title Page Detailing the title of the report; the name of the author of
the report; matriculation number; programme of study;
the module title; assessment title; word count; and the
submission date.


This must be signed by you.


A one-page (maximum) synopsis of the whole report. Note
that this should summarise the whole report; it is not an
introduction. These are ‘free words’ i.e. they are not
included in your word count.

Introduction Identification of the overall objective of the report and

what you will discuss in it.

Main body
[N.B. this is not a
section title!]

It is expected this is spread over several sections and you
would have relevant sub-headings where appropriate.
Make sure you relate your discussion to academic theory.
Avoid falling into the trap of just telling a story about
sweatshops in Asia. Here are some areas you might want
to consider:
Threats: What are the key threats that Western fashion
brands face due to the unrest about garment
manufacturing conditions in Asia? Consider this in terms of
branding. Is this a threat to brand positioning, brand
vision, brand experience?
CSR: To what extent does the scandal undermine the CSR
policies of Western fashion brands?
Public Relations: What are the potential public relations
issues that may arise with Western customers due to the
situation in Asia? Note potential risk of consumer boycott.
Evaluation: What could Western fashion brands do to
restore consumer confidence? (Could they turn the risk of
a boycott into a buycott?)

Conclusion Summarise your paper and draw together the key
issues/outcomes and making recommendations where

References Single comprehensive list in alphabetical order of all
references cited in the report. Follow good practice
regarding referencing of Web-based sources, direct
quotations; and so on. The reference style should follow
the Harvard Referencing System.

 Evidence

 Your Evidence Portfolio i.e. list of
references/artefacts including the Commentary.
(500 words maximum. N.B. These are extra words
so not included in the word count for your paper of
2,000 words.)

Assessment 2 Individual Paper: Marking Criteria

Introduction and Executive Summary (10%)
The Introduction should clearly explain the structure of the paper. The Executive
Summary should be a synopsis of key points / conclusions in the paper.
Breadth and Depth of Discussion (40%)
Show that you have a detailed understanding of both the issues facing the garment
workers AND the issues facing marketers / brand managers. That covers the Breadth
aspect of this criterion. Depth is the degree to which you are able to link your
discussion to relevant academic theory.
Application (15%)
You are asked to make recommendations on what Western fashion brands should do
to respond to the situation in Asia. To cover this section of the marking criteria you
should be able to make practical suggestions that could be employed in real-life to
reduce the threat to the brand.
Referencing (15%)
You are expected to use Harvard referencing to a high standard. You must include a
reference list at the end of your paper.
Presentation (10%)
You are expected to provide a good standard of written English. You can get help
from someone to proof read your English if you wish.
Portfolio (10%)
This relates to the portfolio of 5 sources to be provided as an appendix. You must
define the 5 sources and explain why / how they were useful.
TOTAL 100%