How far is marketing allowed to go to encourage people to buy their products? Neuromarketing is the next marketing frontier and companies are already conducting a lot of research to understand human brain’s decision-making processes (De Vries, 2013; Neuromarketing, 2017). Nevertheless, ethics are not often considered in marketing nor integrated in a Bachelor of Marketing. Speaking from my own experience, marketing students that are not thought such ethics do not understand the purpose of their use. Also, they neither understand the power of marketing nor the responsibility they have. Just like all normal people, they are not aware of the influence of marketing.
On March 15, 1962, John F. Kennedy first presented the Consumer Bill of Rights, covering all basic rights a consumer should have. One of these rights is the right to be informed. This right is becoming more relevant today, as the world is facing a multitude of sustainability challenges and consumers are increasingly demanding companies more information about production processes (Scarborough & Cornwall, 2016).
Now, if we go back to the supermarket, do you feel like you can make a rational choice of which product is best for the environment? Do you think is the best choice for the environment to pick the shiniest and apparently freshest vegetables on the shelf, when you know that they shine so bright because marketers put the perfect light above the shelf? Most of the time, we do not even know what the production process of these veggies is about. How much pesticides or water did the farmer use?
To give an example, avocados consume 2,000L water for just 1KG (Voedingscentrum, n.d.). As a result, whole provinces have no water anymore. In the province of Petorca, Chile, all water available is being illegally taped to produce avocados (Voller, 2017). This, of course, is not what is being told in supermarkets. Marketers neglect their duty to inform consumers about these issues and marketing managers of supermarkets only serve the rule of maximizing profits.