Category Archives: Ethics

No Pizza For You

The Daily Currant, an online fake newspaper similar to The Onion, came out with a satirical article criticizing Mayor Bloomberg and the “Big Gulp” soda ban in New York. In the article, Mayor Bloomberg is at a pizzeria and asks for a second slice. The owner tells him he’s reached his slice limit. “I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito insisted. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.” He suggests the Mayor visit several restaurants if he’s still hungry; that way he’d be at least burning more calories from walking.

bloomb

Despite this fictitious nature of the article, the Daily Current brings up one side of a hot topic debate lately; How much of a say should government have in the American diet? Using the Soda Ban as a base for my approach, I’ve explored multiple sides to the issue.  Opposingviews.com holds this opinion:

The health board, the judge stated, is not authorized to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of controlling chronic disease.” In other words, even (supposedly) good intentions cannot justify abuse of government authority.

But what other intention could Bloomberg have besides genuine concern for the skyrocketing obesity rates in the slums of NYC? A conspiracy for increased government control? Doubt it. I find it hard to believe that the health board doesn’t have the authority to limit/ban an item to control a chronic disease. Cigarettes are banned for people 18 and under to control lung disease and cancer. Drinking five Big Gulps of Mountain Dew undeniably contribute to obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition.

A systems approach needs to be taken when addressing the issue of obesity and general malnutrition. Parents and children need to be educated on how to make healthy decisions, and healthy alternatives need to be available for them to choose, which would actually increase consumer freedom.

For me, I don’t necessarily think that government control is a bad thing if laws are built on good intentions. If the FDA really has the health of the American people at heart, well researched decisions can only improve the quality of life of the people.

I think that Bloomberg is offering a simple solution to a very complicated problem. What do you guys think?

WP 5/07

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Papa’s Story

Marketers spend much time and energy figuring out how best to create brand loyalty for their clients. Brand loyalty can be described as the extent to which consumers are faithful to a brand (repeat purchases), regardless of marketing pressure by competing brands (Business Directory).

An effective way to create brand loyalty among todays consumer is to create a narrative your target audience can relate to. “Storytelling—in its many forms—is one of the most powerful tools for presenting the truths of your product, service, or brand” (MarketingProfs). A storytelling approach can “help brands more empathically interconnect with the buying minds of their customers. There is simply more for them to hold onto” (MarketingProfs).

Lets look at this narrative Papa John’s put together in 2011.

“Stories are slices of life that can subtly reflect bits and pieces of common ground between consumer and brand” (MarketingProfs).  In what ways does “Papa John Telling the Papa John’s Story” execute this well?

Nostalgia. John Schnatte, CEO begins his monologue by reminiscing about when he was young. “When I was growing up as a boy, my mentor was my papa.”  The audience relates, thinking about their own experience growing up.

Family values. Speaking warmly of his grandfather, he says that since the beginning, Papa John’s has never forgot what mattered most. “He had a fanaticism of doing things in a high-class manner…One of our fundamental beliefs from the get-go was we were gonna be a family run, independent pizzeria–no matter how big we got.”  Even though Papa John’s is a franchise with over 4,000 stores nationwide, Schnatte asks that you still think of the company as a mom-and-pop shop.

Just like you. When I was fifteen I was wershing [washing] dishes…and I hated washing dishes and the…brothers gave me a raise, and I got to make pizzas. I worked as a dishwasher for close to five years. I hated washing dishes. I got a raise. Now I’m starting to relate to this guy! Throughout the video, we see scenes of this millionaire working side by side on the assembly line with his “teammates”, laughing and getting his hands dirty, “saucin” and “slappin the dough”. This can make an audience think he’s in the kitchen making pizza. He’s not.

Care about employees. “The thing I am most proud of today is our 80,000 team members worldwide, they don’t do anything second rate…[they] put their best foot forward…We founded Papa John’s with two simple premises: take care of your people, and make the best pizza you can.” Papa John’s isn’t like other companies that treat their employees badly. Schnatte cares about his workers and values them so much he calls them his teammates.

Do you think Schnatte really feels this way about his teammates, after comments he made suggesting Papa John’s would cut employees’ hours and raise prices in anticipation of the Affordable Healthcare mandate?

Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Better get a second Job

Are you loyal to any brands because of a story you were told? Research the WHO behind the marketing in order to distinguish between what the company wants you to see and what’s actually there.

W/P Option 2: 04/19

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Almost Pizza

This Saturday Night Live skit is almost as funny as it is scary. I found it while browsing the “Occupy Monsanto” website. Occupy Monsanto describes itself as a movement “of taking back our food system from these parasitic corporate behemoths who have been poisoning both us and our environment”.  Tell us how you really feel.

The skit may have been written for comedy, but it’s built off a lot of what we’ve been hearing in the news lately on transparency in whats in our food and where it comes from. My Facebook newsfeed has been blowing up lately with stories about a controversy between Monsanto and the state of Vermont. Here’s the scoop.

According to Nation of Change, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is afraid to back the Vermont legislature in requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food. His reasons? He is afraid of a lawsuit against
Monsanto Company, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Missouri and a leading producer of genetically engineered seed and herbicides. In addition, he also “expresses fear that specialty food producers will suffer economic loss because they will be forced to change their genetically modified ingredients, or label them.”

These are valid reasons considering most people would agree that a lawsuit from Monsanto is inevitable. Is it more important to protect our residents from likely damaging ingredients in our food or to protect Vermont’s finances?

Over 61 countries recognize “that there are serious health and safety concerns with GMO foods and animal feed, and so the question remains, will Vermont stand up and set a precedent for the rest of the country?

image from frontview.files.wordpress.com

If Vermont mandates the “Right to Know GMO,” we’ll never again wonder if what we’re eating is Almost Pizza or not.

NP 4/2

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Pulling the Cheese : Domino’s Food Styling and Pizza Porn

You’re sitting at home watching TV when a pizza advertisement comes on. By the end of the commercial, you’re salivating in your mouth at the images you just saw on the screen. You pick up the phone, call Domino‘s and order a pie for delivery. You’re impatient, eagerly awaiting to take a bite of the slice you just saw on TV. 20 minutes later you pay the delivery driver and open the box, expecting to see this:

Pizza Porn

Pizza Porn

But what you really see is this:

“Food photography (or food porn as it’s deemed in this age of Food Network plate-ogling) can make you hungry with a mere glance.  But it’s not easy to get things looking so appetizing and alluring. It takes a ton of skill, timing, artistry, and even some house hold items you should never put in your mouth.” – Fox News

Ever wonder what the process of making a Domino’s commercial looks like? Take a look:

“Food stylists are amazing. They have to do many things to the food to make it look beautiful…They use many tools to make that pizza look the best.” – Hand Model, Domino’s Pizza

It takes “150 people to get down 30 seconds of camera time…if we’re lucky, we get one shot an hour.” – Sam Fauser, Domino’s Pizza Chef

I never thought that they would cut the pizza using a sawzall, or screw down the crust so the cheese will pull just right. It makes sense, I mean how many times have you pulled a slice out of the box and took the cheese off the whole pie?

Although Domino’s released this video to be more transparent, as part of their famous “Oh Yes We Did” campaign, they certainly are not the only company utilizing food styling. Almost every food commercial, photograph, and television show employ at least a little bit food styling to make the food look beautiful.

I haven’t decided yet where I stand about the ethics of “Food Porn”. It’s not unlike other commercials which use different means of persuasion (i.e. beautiful people, humor, values, flattery, straw man). To me, it’s just another important aspect of being media literate. Questioning food media production should be considered thoughtfully like any other kind of media. Some people argue that Food Porn does not practice good ethics, and can be misleading to consumers. What do you guys think? Should you be able to photograph your cake and eat it, too?

WP 3/22

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A Pizza You Can’t Refuse

Godfathers Pizza
“Besides great-tasting pizza, we’ve got somethin’ else that those other wiseguys don’t. The Godfather. Not only does The Godfather make sure our pizzas are made just the way you like ’em, but he also adds an element of fun that the whole mob can enjoy.” – Godfathers Pizza

Godfathers Pizza is a large restaurant chain owned by Pillsbury and has over 600 locations in 39 states throughout the US. The company’s marketing campaign has remained largely unchanged since it’s founding in the 1970s, basing much of it’s image on the popular book-turned-film The Godfather (1972). From using the borrowed slogan, “A Pizza You Can’t Refuse”, to employing a knock off Don Corleone type actor full time for advertisements, to using the vernacular of a stereotypical New York mob guy throughout the website, I would say that Godfathers is laying it on a little thick. If you are unfamiliar with the famous line, take a quick look.

Now look at a Godfather’s ad from the 1980’s.

How cheesy can you get? (No pun intended).

Reviewing Godfather’s Pizza’s commercials and website had me thinking about ethics in marketing. The American Marketing Association has this to say about respect in their statement of ethics on their website.

             Respect – to acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.  To this end, we will:

  • Value individual differences and avoid stereotyping customers or depicting demographic groups (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation) in a negative or dehumanizing way.
  • Make every effort to understand and respectfully treat buyers, suppliers, intermediaries and distributors from all cultures.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others, such as consultants, employees and coworkers, to marketing endeavors.

In an Op-Ed piece published on the New York Times in 2011, criticizing former Presidential candidate Herman Cain (previous CEO of Godfather’s Pizza), John Mariani talks about the ethnic stereotyping of Godfather’s Pizza. He wrote, Perhaps because Italian-Americans have generally integrated into society at large, it has become acceptable to mock them. Thus we have the “goombahs” of “The Sopranos” and the “guidos” of “Jersey Shore.” Mariani goes on to say that other assimilated immigrant groups have been spared such mockery.

I have to agree with Mariani on this one. Although Godfather Pizza’s long standing campaign seems to be effective, I think that it is in bad taste, escalating a stereotype on Italian Americans that should remain in the past. It seems to me that in America today it is okay to mock certain ethnic groups, but others are protected, especially from such blatant examples of ethnic stereotyping like Godfather’s Pizza.

What do you guys think? Is Godfather’s Pizza practicing good ethics in their marketing and advertising?

NP 3/12

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