Tobacco Companies have in the recent decades adapted their products to make them more appealing and also more addictive all in a bid to increase their sales by sustaining the user addiction to nicotine. The disregard for the health impact on the user by the companies is highly alarming as this unique blend is deadly. Given that the question of ethics in the tobacco industry has always been there given the harmful effects of substances such as nicotine, adding even more harmful substances makes matters even worse. It is completely unethical. All companies have a moral obligation towards their consumers based on moral principles. The campaign for tobacco-free kids, an organization working to reduce tobacco use, reports that the tobacco industry has indeed conducted itself unethically. Such unethical actions include: adding nicotine levels to make cigarettes more addictive and by adding flavors such as chocolate to cigarettes which is designed to make them more attractive to kids (Tobaccofreekids.org. (2017).
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Other than being unethical, the fact that this is only being done in developing markets suggests a practice of adaptation rather than standardization. It is quite unusual given that evidence suggests that companies that standardize globally tend to be more successful. This success is due to advantages of standardization such as a strong brand identity, economies of scale, and improved quality of products due to a strong focus on a uniform product. This customization of tobacco products in emerging markets demonstrates the success of the adaptation process rather than standardization.
Several other companies have demonstrated the advantages of adaptation such as the global fast food company, McDonald’s. This company has customized its menu for the various geographical areas such as India, Middle East, and Japan to appeal to their customers. Also, another global company, Unilever, has customized its goods to cater for the needs of low-income earners in markets such as India who can’t afford them (Alwazir, 2013).
Alwazir, W. (2013). Global Marketing Strategy – Standardization vs. Adaptation. A collection of my mba work. Accessed on 2018/02/22 from https://successfulglobalmarketing.weebly.com/untitled/global-marketing-strategy-standardization-vs-adaptation
Tobaccofreekids.org. (2017). The Flavor Trap: How Tobacco Companies Are Luring Kids with Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes And Cigars. Campaign for tobacco free kids. Accessed on 2018/02/22 from https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/microsites/flavortrap/full_report.pdf
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