Great State Wheat Flakes Can't Be Beat

16268 words 66 pages
Supplemental/Examination Cases

The use of a case for exam purposes can help the instructor understand a student’s depth of understanding of the material. Points can be taken off if they fail to identify the ethical issues and important stakeholders or justify their decision relative to their stated moral philosophy base. To help you with this exam type we have included three cases that can be used for exam purposes.

SUPPLEMENTAL CASE 1

Great State Wheat Flakes Can’t Be Beat*
Betty, who has been employed for three years as a copywriter for HK&M, a small advertising agency specializing in consumer packaged goods, has been feverishly working for the past week on a new ad campaign for Great State Wheat Flakes, a regional breakfast cereal.
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Nonetheless, she still felt uneasy. It seemed to her that the “implied superiority” claim crossed the boundary of puffery over to deception.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Identify the ethical issues facing Betty regarding the nature of the proposed “implied superiority” advertising claim. 2. What are the ethical issues Betty encounters with respect to organizational relationships and conflicts? 3. What are Betty’s possible decision alternatives, and what are the ethics of each alternative? 4. Which alternative would you recommend to Betty and why?

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Some issues and suggested “talking points” raised or suggested by the characters in the case to discuss the “implied superiority” advertising claim follow. •

Are implied superiority claims such as the examples in the case misleading/deceptive, as Betty believes, or are they merely honest exaggeration (“puffery”/“puffing”) which consumers will see through, as Charlie suggests? Where should the line be drawn between puffing and deception? Regulatory agencies historically have recognized the legitimacy of a certain amount of puffery while ruling against deception. Puffery has been legally defined as “advertising or other sales presentations which praise the item to be sold with subjective opinions, superlatives, or exaggerations, vaguely and generally, stating no specific facts.”* Deception,

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