Marigold Dairy Corporation Case

Prior to beginning work on this discussion,Read Chapter 4 of the course textbook.
Browse the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics web page and The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy website for additional information.
Marigold Dairy Corporation sells milk products, including powdered milk formula for infants. Marigold hopes to increase sales of its powdered milk formula in Liberia and other African nations where mothers are often malnourished due to drought and civil war. Marigold’s marketing department has created a marketing plan to convince mothers and expectant mothers not to breastfeed their babies and to, instead, use Marigold formula. Doctors generally favor breastfeeding as beneficial to mothers (it helps the uterus return to normal size), to babies (it is nutritious and strengthens the bonds between the infant and the mother), and to families (it is inexpensive). Marigold’s marketing plan stresses the good nutrition of its formula and the convenience to parents of using it, including not having to breastfeed. You are the senior vice president of marketing for Marigold.Do you approve this marketing plan?
What would a rights theorist do?
What would a utilitarian do?
What would a profit maximizer do?

Do you approve of this marketing plan?

On whether to approve the marketing plan, I would consider its prospects in the target market. Firstly, there is a value proposition to the mothers in Liberia and other African countries suffering from civil war and drought. Those mothers would not have to struggle to breastfeed their children. Secondly, it would reduce malnourishment in the region, particularly in areas where food is scarce. Thirdly, the company would benefit by getting more sales and hence profits. Finally, the marketing plan is not illegal. For these reasons, I would approve the marketing plan.

What would a rights theorist do?

Rights theorists hold that there are norms that guide how people treat others in all circumstances. In this regard, individuals must ensure their actions are ethical and legal. They believe that people must have maximum respect for the other’s rights. A rights theorist would be against the marketing plan because it denies the infants a chance for stronger immunity from breast milk. They would be against promoting a product that might have health effects on the children compared to breastmilk. It would be unethical to deny children a chance to create a bond with their mothers through breastfeeding. Hence, they would be against the marketing plan.

What would a utilitarian do?

Utilitarianism requires us to act in a way that results in the greatest possible amount of aggregate welfare (Kahane, 2015). A utilitarian, therefore, would prioritize the decision that has the greatest benefit to most people. From this perspective, the marketing plan presents the greatest benefits to most people. It would help mothers in drought- and war-stricken regions with a convenient way to feed their children, reduce the number of children suffering from malnourishment while saving lives, and help the Marigold earn profits. Thus, they would be okay with the marketing plan.

What would a profit maximizer do?

A profit maximizer’s primary goal is to increase profits as much as possible. They would consider the marketing plan the right approach because it would tap the demand from the regions. Additionally, they would consider this as potentially a good move because the company could get local and international governments and sponsors involved to supply the product in the regions, earning more profits in the long run. The formula would also improve the company’s brand image as an entity focused on supporting struggling parts.

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Kahane, G. (2015). Sidetracked by trolleys: Why sacrificial moral dilemmas tell us little (or nothing) about utilitarian judgment. Social Neuroscience, 10(5), 551–560.

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