Integrated Marketing Communications

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TOPIC 1: Ethical Dilemma

As indicated in chapter 10, “Product placement is also slowly but surely making its way into videogames. Advergaming brings real‐world brands into the game.” On the surface this seems like a natural extension of product placements that we see every day in our TV programs, movies, and online surfing adventures. Adult gamers would think it unusual if the street scenes where high‐speed chases and gun battles took place didn’t have billboards and signs that advertised real products.

Should product placements in youth‐ oriented video games have stronger standards?

Assume one of two roles: (a) You are a proponent of product placements in video games, or (b) You are an opponent of product placements in video games.

Develop an effective argument for your position.

Remember that your argument must address the ethics of using product placements in youth‐oriented games.

Discuss your argument with at least two (2) classmates to debate the opposition.

TOPIC 2: Cookies

Do you think it’s a good idea to place “cookies” on a consumer’s computer? The use of cookies tells Web site owners and advertisers who views the ad. Nothing wrong with that—right? After all, many registration‐based sites collect key demographic data such as the user’s address, age, interests, andbrowsing history. This information, however, allows the organization to use online media for behavioral targeting.

As mentioned in chapter 11, the ability to “buy” keywords means that advertisers can target very narrow contexts. Again, there seems to be nothing wrong with this approach to marketing.

So where might the ethical dilemma reside?

Critics point out that cookies are data sources that just “keep on giving.” Many consumers complain that cookies never go away and are the source of endless viruses. This little back door into the consumer’s purchasing habits, preferences, and demographics has become a big issue. Consumers with health problems (e.g., cancer), risky behavior (e.g., sky diving), addictions (e.g., alcohol or smoking), or alternative lifestyle choices claim that cookies allow them to be profiled and discriminated against by product, health, and insurance companies. In some instances, the U.S. government even uses this technology to track consumer actions and preferences.

Investigate the use of cookies and organizational policies that are intended to protect consumer information (see company Web sites for disclosure and privacy statements).

Take a stance: (a) Cookies are harmless and help marketers target the correct market with messages and don’t significantly invade privacy; or (b) Cookies are harmful, invade privacy, lead to discriminatory practices, and should be banned.

Summarize your stance.

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