This brief case study highlights the risks a company might face if it makes the wrong call in relation to its ethical marketing policies. The case study discusses the case of Cadbury substituting palm oil for cocoa butter in its chocolate in order to cut cost. On the one hand Cadbury were trying to build a global ethical platform for its key Dairy Milk brand with Fairtrade certification. Unfortunately and in the same time they were undoing all their efforts with a scandal involving switching to palm oil as a key ingredient in its flagship (most important) brand. The discussion of the consumer psychology and behaviour processes involved in this paper highlights the complexity of trying to understand consumer behaviour in relation to ethical marketing.
In the given paper / case study, while the various psychology and behaviour perspectives were presented in separate sections, in reality of course they all operate together in exerting a powerful influence on consumer reactions. Despite this complexity, what is clear is that the same factors come into play regardless of whether consumers are attracted to an ethical brand or avoiding an unethical one. With so many organizations now jumping on the CSR bandwagon (trend), companies need to be extremely careful not to be seen as just another pretender. Non genuine 'Fairtraders' may well face longer term boycotts and wrath (intense anger) from consumers. Clearly Cadbury NZ needs to monitor this dimension in its brand health tracking surveys.
1. Why do people eat chocolate?
2. What is the relevance of self concept to Marketing?
3. What other strategies have confectionary and food managers used to overcome motivational conflict?
4. Why did consumers seem to get so excited by Cadbury's use of palm oil when there are so many other manufacturers out there using it?