BUSINESS ETHICS RESEARCH MEMO

 

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This is how I want you to approach the research aspect of this assignment. Find three or four sources that help you make your case to the reader.

So, you are required to do several things – anwer your critics about the safety of the Rocket Board and the  “ethical” nature of your company; explain what you are going to do about the current lawsuts; and what you plan to do moving forward to keep 306 SPORTS INC profitable.  You need to use research to convince the readers (306 SPORTS INC community) your plans and ideas are sound. The research you add is, of course, up to you, but I want it to be legitimate. Find actual sources that support your ideas. 

First, you have to answer your critics who claim you and your company behaved unethically. They claim you knew this product was dangerous and could harm users. Do you have a responsibility to protect your customers? NO?  Too bad, kid – you should have worn a helmet? Buyer beware? It’s the parents’ fault? Is this really what an ETHICAL PERSON AND COMPANY want to say to the public? Perhaps you want to explain how your company actually is HELPING society by provding skatebaords.

How about this approach: during the COVID pandemic, the CDC recommends people (especially children) find ways to stay physically active while maintaining social distancing (CDC/covid/sports.gov). SKATEBOARDING IS THE PERECT SPORT – it requires no teammates, no coaches, no arena. Skatebaording is the safest and most effective sport for users to remain healthy and avoid large groups and thereby avoid a possible COVID infection. 306 SPORTS INC is not behaving unethically – we are helping the community stay active and healthy during these tough times. If riders of the Rocket Board wear the required safety gear, the chances of injuries is significantly lessened.

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What research can you think of to help you address the issue of responsibility? Are there laws that protect you and other businesses from responsibility? Are there other companies that have faced similar situations? Come up with a response (ideas and a plan) then GO FIND research to help you make your position clear and strong!

What about those lawsuits? What’s the plan? FIGHT? Do you want to see users of your product in court? Do you want them to explain to a jury how they bought your product and were severly injured? Some of the injured are young children. Is it wise to make this issue more public? How will this impact your business?

Is the plan to SETTLE these lawsuits? Do you have the money to do this? Do you admit you are responsible? How will this impact your profit?

You can use research for a possible solution; what have other companies done when facing similar lawsuits? 

Finally, business is about ONE thing – as we have said during this BUSINESS ETHICS discussion = MONEY$$!!!

Let’s say you want to remind your readers that selling skateboards (especially one of the most popular models) is very profitable and your company will remain very profitable if it continues to focus on the extreme model – the Rocket Board:

We know the demand for”extreme sports equipment” is very high. The website SkateBoard Heroes predicts sales of the top skateboard brands will exceed 10 million units this holiday season. Our own marketing department preditcs our share of these sales will be 2 million unts, which translates to $10 million in profts this year. Those readers who want you to consider limiting sales of the Rocket Board might change their minds when they see the potential profit!

So is your plan to continue doing what you are doing? Do you plan to alter the product? add warning labels? create age restrictions? REALLY? All of these options would damage sales and profit won’t they?  Create a plan and use research to help you.

 

Now, what about sources?

How do I add the sources to my memo?

I want you to add the name of the website to your memo whenever you use source material. You can add it to the text: According to the website extremesportsinjuries.org, “In 2016, 115 deaths had been linked to extreme sports participation. But only two of those deaths were associated with skateboarding and both deaths were determined to be user error.”

OR, you can add the website in parenthesis at the end of the information: “In 2016, 115 deaths had been linked to extreme sports participation. But only two of those deaths were associated with skateboarding and both deaths were determined to be user error.” (extremesportsinjuries.org). The PERIOD goes outside the parenthesis and the name of the website is italicized.

Where do I find sources?

The library! Yeah, right. What decade is it? Yes, the library used to be the place that housed all research material. Now, your pocket has the material you need. Most research (not all) is found on-line. So, you can use your phone or other electronic resources to find research.

What kinds of sources should I use?

Well, what subject are you researching? If you are writing an academic paper about infectious viruses, you would NOT want to use The National Enquirer, right? But, if you are writing an academic paper about the impact the paparazzi has had on our opinions of celebrities, then the Enquirer might be a great place to find source material. 

So, for this assignment, use legitimate, respected, reputable sources. Most newspapers, government sites, national magazines, and journals are fine. Consumer groups’ website are tricky, but most are effective. Use your own judgment and use quality sources. There is no shortage of sources, so you should have no trouble finding credible information.

How Many Sources Should I Use?

This is easy. The “rule of thumb” for most research assignments is: use, on average, one source per page. If you have a 10 page research paper, you should have approximately 10 sources. If you have a 25 page research paper, you should have about 25 sources. This is for future papers you will write.

What are we creating? A 2, 3, 4 page memo. You should have a few sources, 3 or 4 is good. Obviously, 6-10 is way too many. But using 1 or 2 sources is probably too few.

You do not have to create an external works cited page. Because we are using just a few sources, you can add the information to the text of the memo.

FINALLY

Remember, I want YOUR IDEAS, YOUR OPINION, YOUR ANALYSIS. The quality of your writing is still the main focus of this assignment. The majority of your grade is based on the writing you create. 

Research is designed to assist you as you make your points to the reader. So, do NOT begin this memo by doing research about the positives or negatives of skateboarding. Begin by writing down your ideas. Answer each part of the memo’s questions, first. Figure out what you want to say – THEN go find some research that will help you make your position stronger and more effective.

Memorandum

To: Mr. Chris N. Charge
From: A.B. Student
Subject: Happy Bunny Energy Juice Marketing Concerns
Date: March 18, 2020

To dramatically increase profit margins, it is imperative that our company target all available
demographics- including preteens and teenagers There is no reasonable argument against
marketing our products to this new age group. This promising age groups is already full of
regular customers of popular coffee shop chains- there is not significant backlash at their
companies, and there will not be for ours either. This untapped demographic will yield large
profit margins as well as long term customers- younger customers will develop a positive
association with our brand and consume our drinks for years to come. Our company must
proceed with this new campaign before we risk losing potential profits.

Teens already consume lots of caffeine
There have been concerns expressed by a vocal minority related to the consumption of caffeine
and its effect on young adults, but these concerns are mostly unfounded and hypocritical.
These concerns ignore the caffeine consumption parents seem completely fine with- coffee
shops, and they should be just as fine with their children consuming our drinks as well.

• Caffeine is a staple: In a 2017 Business Insider article titled “Teens have a new favorite

restaurant — and it’s not Starbucks” noted that until recently “Starbucks has won the

No. 1 spot among teens in almost every semi-annual Piper Jaffray survey for the last

seven years” (https://www.businessinsider.com/how-teens-are-spending-money-2017-

4).

• Soda is also a concern: Those who voice concerns about the caffeine consumption by

teens often ignore the caffeine in many colas such as popular Pepsi and Coca-Cola

products simply because they are not listed as “energy drinks”. This leads many to

understand the concerns are mostly superficial and illegitimate.

• Our drinks are as safe as coffee: The amount of caffeine in our energy drinks (as with

many other brands) is comparable to the caffeine content in an average cup of coffee.

Getting customers at a young age will improve long term customer loyalty
Though our current marketing aims at young adults ages 18-34, just as our competitors do on
average, we must aim at a younger demographic to ensure brand loyalty and consistent profits
into the future. If we start a marketing campaign targeting the youth, we could see great profit
margins from this untapped demographic for years to come.

• Develop brand loyalty early: Our company must strike first and attract younger

consumers to our brand before other companies have a chance to develop a good

relationship with them.

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-teens-are-spending-money-2017-4

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-teens-are-spending-money-2017-4

• Increased buying power: A 2019 FONA International article titled “Consumer Insight:

Purchase Power of Today’s Teens” reported that ages 10-17 demographic is

“responsible for up to $143 billion of direct spending”

(https://www.fona.com/purchase-power-of-todays-teens/). This buying power could

bring in well over the previously estimated $30 million our company expects from this

business venture.

There is no moral dilemma
There is no ethical concern related to selling our products to a younger demographic. Any
concerns are only minor decisions between the variety of drinks we offer such as flavors or zero
calorie options, (not whether it is safe to drink). To ensure all legal responsibility related to any
potential health risks (no matter how small) is on the shoulders of the consumer or their
parent/guardian, we can print a small warning on cans to advise for moderate consumption of
caffeine- but I assure you, this step is not necessary.

• Correlation, but not causation: A 2016 study titled “Demographics, Health, and Risk

Behaviors of Young Adults Who Drink Energy Drinks and Coffee Beverages ” concluded

that just as with energy drink consumers, “the high-end coffee drink population also

tended to have a higher prevalence of mental illness diagnosis”

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892198/). This is a far cry from a

dramatic moral concern, and at most would put our company’s products on-par with

coffee, not worse.

• Sugar is the concern: Parents are more concerned with sugar than with caffeine

content. We can capitalize on this by producing energy drinks with zero sugar content.

Increased sugar intake will lead to a series of medical concerns such as unwanted weight

gain, blood sugar problems, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

• We are already regulated: As a producer of a beverage, the FDA already regulates us.

The only risk considered by them is the relationship between caffeine intake and

anxiety, and as Joyce A. Generali points out in her 2013 study “Energy Drinks: Food,

Dietary Supplement, or Drug?”, “the role of co-ingredients as risk factors or confounders

has not been established” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839443/).

This would also be true of the many coffee chains and parents who have no real qualms

with allowing their children to drink their brew.

We are a business and must focus on profits first and foremost. Happy Bunny Energy Juice must

not waver when facing a small group that shows unfounded concerns. The idea that we should

simultaneously be a successful business and morally sound is a fine aspiration. The combination

of these two ideas is the balance we must strike to maintain increased profits and a degree of

good consumer satisfaction. However, to be concerned about the ethics of marketing to a

younger age group would be a waste of energy, as it is both an illogical concern (based on our

current competition and consumer statistics), as well as a tremendous missed opportunity for

previously unseen profits. I urge you to move forward with the plans to begin our new

marketing campaign with a younger demographic.

https://www.fona.com/purchase-power-of-todays-teens/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892198/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839443/

Memo

To: Chris N. Charge
From: Taylor P., leading salesperson
Subject: Happy Bunny Energy Juice
Date: March 18, 2020

Since Happy Bunny Energy Drinks sells one of the world’s best selling energy drinks, our
company has made the correct decisions to make us a top competitor; however, I fear the
creation of Happy Bunny Energy Juice will make us lose this position. Even though the creation
of this new product may earn us a revenue of $30 million in profit, the risks our company will
take for this profit may end up damaging the company in the process. Below I have listed reasons
as to why it would not be wise for us to open up ourselves to this new market.

Cancel Culture
Once someone has a problem, it is known immediately as social media makes it easy for
information to spread. Cancel culture has made it so there is truly no difference between the type
of backlash someone will receive no matter how big or small the problem is. Because of how
dangerous and present cancel culture is for brands, it would be of no surprise if Happy Bunny
Energy Juice was “canceled” right before it is even sold.

• Marketed to Children. Even though Happy Bunny will not be marketing an energy drink to
children, people will have a problem with this new product because it is so similar to the
products this company is known for. There is a widely held negative opinion towards
giving children energy drinks because they are linked to health problems. Because of this
people will think that we are acting unethical and putting children in danger.

• Intense Backlash. As with anything that gets “canceled,” the anger and negativity spreads
quickly and the topic will soon be on the trending page. People would easily be able to read
negative comments about our new product and company if we appeared on the trending
page and Happy Bunny’s name would be tarnished within a matter of seconds. This intense
hate we would receive would also carry on for the rest of our company’s existence. As
history has shown, no matter how many times a brand apologizes for their mistakes, people
never forgive them and will continuously bring the situation up, forever ruining the brand.

• Decreased Sales. The negativity we would receive would instantly decrease our sales. Not
only would this effect the possible revenue we could earn from the Happy Bunny Energy
Juice, but this would significantly decrease the revenue we earn from our already existing
products. Our name would be ruined because of the energy juice and would in turn lead
people to not trust our name and no longer buy our products.

Legal Liability
Adding fruit juice can avoid some of the legal liability but it will not eliminate all of it. The
possibility of having a lawsuit against Happy Bunny because the product involves energy drinks
as well as children is very strong. In the longterm, this would be costly for the company as it will
have to pay for high lawyer fees and possibly even settlements or court fees if the case is strong
enough.

• Angry parents. Even though it is not Happy Bunny’s responsibility to protect children,
parents will try to blame us for endangering their children. Whether the reason is that there
is a negative side effect or parents simply don’t like the fact that we are known for selling
energy drinks, angry parents will not hesitate to bring a lawsuit against us if they think it
will protect their children.

• American Beverage Association. According to the American Beverage Association
website,“energy drink manufacturers will not market their energy drink products to
children under 12 years of age” (ameribev.org). While Happy Bunny Energy Juice is not
directly an energy drink, this rule could still get us in trouble as the drink is an energy juice
and we are a company known for being a best seller in energy drinks.

• Lawyers against energy drinks. There are several different websites already in existence to
file lawsuits against energy drink companies such as aboutlawsuits.com
energydrinklawsuit.com or youhavealawyer.com to name a few. If these types of websites
already exist for adults who are fully conscious of their own decisions, these websites
would surely dramatically increase as people are always trying to protect innocent children.

Harsh Competition
There are already countless brands that market their juice to children so it would be hard for us to
distinguish our juice from the rest. On top of that, it would be hard for us to be a front runner
because we are getting into this market so late and the other front runners have been on top for
many years.

• Large competition pool. According to the CNN Health page, there is a minimum of 34
different juice options aimed towards children as a headline for one of their articles reads
“top 34 bestselling ‘fruit’ drinks for kids deemed unhealthy” (cnn.com). If there is already
at least 34 best selling different options, it doesn’t seem like our brand has much of a
chance to stand out when there are already so many options flooding the market.

• Front runners. Some of the front runners for this market include Kool-Aid Jammers as
well as Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters (cnn.com). Both of these companies have been around for
many years and have had a strong footing in the market for almost as long as they have
been in production. Because there are already best sellers that have thrived in this market
for several years, people would not easily be able to sway away from what they have
known and loved for so long to give Happy Bunny Energy Juice a try.

http://ameribev.org

http://aboutlawsuits.com

http://energydrinklawsuit.com

Homepage

http://cnn.com

http://cnn.com

The risks of entering a new market with Happy Bunny Energy Juice are far greater than the
possible benefits the company may receive and because of that, I do not think it would be a wise
decision for us to sell this product.

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