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Business Law Chapter 14 Homework So There Are Five Imaginary Ads This

Page Count
4 pages
Word Count
877 words
Book Title
Applied Business Ethics: A Skills-Based Approach 1st Edition
Authors
Dean Bredeson
MODULE 14: Using Fear to Sell
Core Module Issues:
Is it reasonable to “scare” customers into buying products and
services?
If so, are there any limits? Any circumstances in which fear is not an
appropriate tactic?
Module Teaching Notes
The last module featured “best case scenario” ads. This module features, in a sense, the opposite kind of
ads. Almost “worst case scenario” situations.
An interesting opening discussion for this class can follow the question: are you vulnerable to ads that try to
scare you? Do you ever buy things to prevent a “big problem”.
A follow up question, of comments are few, can be: are you more likely to respond to an ad that will help
you save time, help you save money, have a good time, or avoid a big problem.
Sometimes multiple choice helps, particularly if you happen to have an 8:00 class.
The truth is that many advertisers try to scare us. They present their products and services as a solution to
a big problem. Now, the big problem may be unlikely (perhaps VERY unlikely), but nevertheless,
consumers respond to fear quite regularly.
The scenario in this module is very similar to the previous two.
An aside:
If you have enjoyed the previous two modules, then you should cover this one as well. But if you have
found class discussion lacking, or if you are not enjoying the material, there is no reason to cover this, or
any specific module in the book. I tried to make this textbook longer than I thought necessary to fill a typical
course. I think 45-55 modules is probably enough to “fill the air time.”
I hope that faculty members will emphasize the modules that they find interesting, and deemphasize the
others. No need to march mechanically from 1 to 2 to 3 until you run out of time on the last day of class,
unless you want to. I encourage you to skip ahead on occasion.
Everyone will have areas of personal interest. I think classes are dramatically better, regardless of topic,
when the professor is interested in the topic. Better to cover the topics out of order with consistent
enthusiasm than to cover the topic in order with inconsistent enthusiasm.
At any rate, I like this module just fine. But if you read this or any other module and imagine that it would be
difficult for you to work with, by all means leave it and assign another to your class.
End of aside
So, there are five imaginary ads in this scenario. Insurance political germ buster toothpaste and
burglar alarm. Some of the ads this time have statistics (which are not shown in the actual commercials)
which show the odds of a bad event happening.
1. Rank the five ads, from #1 (most unethical) to #5 (least unethical):
_____ Life insurance
_____ Political attack ad
_____ Dust mite light
_____ Toothbrush
_____ Home security service
2. Focus on your #1 and #2 rankings from question 1. What, specifically, do you find
questionable about these ads?
3. Did any of the statistics in the scenario influence your assessment of the ads? If so, which
ones? If not, would even longer odds (of, say, 1,000,000-to-1) have influenced your rankings?
A. INFLUENCED ME WHY? DOES IT SEEM LIKE AN UNFAIR GAME?
4. Should any of these ads be disallowed/made illegal, or are none of them that bad?
A. ILLEGAL WHICH ONES? DOESN'T THAT GO A LONG WAY? WHAT IF
THEY WERE MERELY REQUIRED TO GIVE CONSUMERS MORE
INFORMATION?
5. Going back to an idea in the background section, do you think fear-based ads create fears in
the first place, or do they merely inform people about solutions for things that they are already
afraid of?
[THIS REFERS BACK TO A QUESTION YOU MAY HAVE CHOSEN TO
PRESENT DURING YOUR SET UP FOR THE LAST MODULE. HAS
ANYONE'S OPINION CHANGED, IF YOU PRESENTED IT THEN?]
[IF THIS IS A “NEW QUESTION”, THEN JUST LET THE STUDENTS TALK
AND GUIDE THE CONVERSATION.]

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