Ethics of Pepsi Advertising
Earlier this year, Pepsi USA was seen to have teamed with Amazon MP3 to offer free music to its consumers. Pepsi Stuff points could be obtained from Pepsi bottle caps. Amazon and Pepsi vowed to give away $1 billion in prizes to Pepsi consumers (Harris, 2008). The advertisement for Pepsi Stuff revealed young and popular names and faces in the music industry. In fact, the Pepsi Stuff promotion seemed to have been developed for the youths of America alone (“Pepsi Stuff”).
Unless the consumer knows about the health impact of Pepsi, there is nothing that may be termed as unethical in the Pepsi Stuff advertisement available on the Internet: http://pepsistuff. amazon. com/gp/pepsistuff/home. html. The advertisement shows a music player with moving snapshots of popular music albums (“Pepsi Stuff”). However, there is no mention of the fact that Pepsi may seriously damage the health of its consumers, be they young or old.
Hickman (2007) writes that Pepsi may be one of those soft drinks with “the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA. ” As a matter of fact, the health problems posed by Pepsi and many other soft drinks are akin to problems typically associated with aging as well as alcoholism. Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative diseases have been linked to Pepsi and its likes. Other health problems are possible, too (Hickman). Nevertheless, the Pepsi Stuff promotion does not present a health warning as do advertisements for cigarettes.
In order to create perfectly ethical advertisements, Pepsi must write health warnings with its ads. Thus far, neither Coca Cola nor Pepsi have taken the initiative. Of a certainty, if Pepsi refuses to write a health warning with all its advertisements, it would be promoting a product that damages health and is therefore unethical to promote without a health warning. The Pepsi Stuff promotion is no different (“Pepsi Stuff”).
Harris, M. (2008, Jan 17). Amazon and Pepsi to Offer Free MP3 Music. About. Retrieved Nov 18, 2008, from http://mp3. about. com/b/2008/01/17/amazon-and-pepsi-to-offer-free-mp3-music. htm. Hickman, M. (2007, May 27). Caution: Some Soft Drinks May Seriously Harm Your Health. The Independent. Retrieved Nov 18, 2008, from http://www. independent. co. uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/caution-some-soft-drinks-may-seriously-harm-your-health-450593. html. Pepsi Stuff. Pepsi USA. Retrieved Nov 18, 2008, from http://pepsistuff. amazon. com/gp/pepsistuff/home. html.