Charged with the duty of protecting the consuming public from risks of death or serious injury resulting from use of consumer products, the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announces product recalls where there is a serious or immediate need to do so, in order to protect the health and safety of consumers. One such recent incident happened only on October 25 of the current year, wherein the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boat Toys imported by Fisher-Price Inc. , of East Aurora, New York (U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2007).
Fisher Price is only one of the brands produced by giant toy factory Mattel (Mattel Inc. , 2007). Mattel has been announcing product recalls and providing details since 1998 (2007). The announcement recalled approximately 38,000 units of the said toys, which are boats that squirt water, with the cartoon character Diego on the seat (U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2007). The reason for the recall was that the surface paints used on the products contained excessive levels of lead, which could be dangerous to children.
Moreover, the levels of lead in the toys violated the federal prohibition on using lead paint on children’s toys (U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2007). When customers purchase a product, they already have certain expectations in mind, which often comes from their frames of reference. Their thinking is rooted in the familiar, which means their consciousness is tied in the past, and not the future (Customer Expectations). Therefore, when consumers buy a product, they are influenced by news, opinions, or other feedback they received or heard in the past (Customer Expectations).
Applied in the given case about toy companies Fisher-Price Inc. and Mattel Inc. , a customer’s expectation on their products would depend on their reputation as suppliers and manufacturers of children’s toys. Thus, having been in existence for decades, these companies have acquired significant following among children and parents. Therefore, these companies already have a huge market that does not need much convincing before they buy the products.
Another customer expectation that is involved in the given instance is that caused by the involvement of government agencies such as the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the approval of such toys for release or sale to consumers. Hence, a consumer would rest secure in the belief that government agencies tasked to monitor the adherence of children’s toys to federal standards would perform their mandates to the letter. Ethical advertising involves proper consideration of three aspects of a company’s policy. These are profitability, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility (Kent House). Of these three, ethical advertising is much more concerned with social responsibility, or the company’s respect for the effect of its business on society (Kent House).
Advertising, when viewed in a vacuum, is not particularly concerned with social responsibility (Kent House). Advertising as a concept exists for one main purpose only, which is to meet the marketing objectives of a company. Therefore, it would not consider the effects of the product in the outside world; it would only be concerned about the possible success of its marketing campaign to increase the figure of sales of the company (Kent House). Advertising also consists of sanctioned strategies and creative ideas specifically designed to manipulate and control the desire of its target consumers or market (Kent House).
In the case of advertising of children’s toys, marketing strategies would undoubtedly aim to feed the children’s desire for toys. However, ethical advertising would dictate that advertising firms not stop in their satisfaction of the company’s goal of increasing its sales figures. Ethical advertising mandates that the promotion of a company’s products be made by focusing, not merely on desire, but responsible desire (Kent House). Responsible desire dictates that a company successfully creates desire for its clients, but it does so in such a way that its products would not later experience consumer rejection or regulation (Kent House).
Thus, the company is pushed into putting in more creative but responsible work when creating its products (Kent House). One of the implications of product recall is clearly bad business. Customers get turned off by product recalls, which ruin a company’s reputation. While early product recall is the standard measure taken by companies when things go wrong, it affects the poeple’s belief in the brand. Another implication of product recall can be found in the people’s confidence in government agencies tasked to regulate the standard of quality of products (World News Media, 2006).
Thus, it is observed that people often turn to the media to learn of violations of product standards (World News Media, 2006). Finally, another implication of product recall can be observed in all aspects of society, which can provide feedback, such as various society groups and the consumers themselves, who may have felt alarm in knowing that the products they consume may have dangerous effects on their health and safety (World News Media, 2006). It is important that the company be able to assuage those alarm and fear in order to maintain its place in the market.