Blog#3 Case in Point “Best Buy Hunts Down Bad Customers”

For my Case in Point I chose to do, “Best Buy Hunts Down Bad Customers”. This Case in Point talks about how Best Buy found out that they had three different kinds of shoppers. They categorized them as the ” “angles” the high spending people, “devils” – savvy, bargain-hunting customers who apply for rebates, return purchases to buy them back as discounted merchandise, and “flippers” the people who buy goods for a profit on eBay. The CEO says “100 million of its 500 million annual customers fall into this category”. Best Buy found out this information from a data mining system that is collected from the products that customers buy and when they buy them. After receiving information that “devils” were hurting their revenue Best Buy took away the online promotions and coupons that would be seen by the “devil” customers. By doing this they were basically trying to lessen the use of coupons and increase their revenue. In this example, data mining helps the companies stay in business and helps them keep making profit. McWilliams stated, “They can wreak enormous economics havoc” talking about devils but with data mining this helps companies weed out the devils. Data Mining might help companies but not always the case for customers. For example, one of the points we talked about in class that had to do with data mining was how Target found out this teen was pregnant from the products the teen was looking up online and products she had purchased. Through data mining Target started to mail her information and product that pregnant people would need. The father having no idea his daughter was pregnant was not very happy with Target because they were sending her information he thought was inappropriate. The father ended up finding out later that his daughter was pregnant and realized why Target was sending his daughter that information.

I think that data mining has its pros and cons. I think for companies it is smart of them to have to keep track of customers like Best Buy did. Help them find out what kind of buyers they have to keep their company going strong. Where for customers it is nice when you have been looking for a certain products and you get information about what other product would be good to purchase. On the other hand, some cons would be in the case of the pregnant teen where she wanted to keep the information to herself but Target gave out information she didn’t want others to see. Also for those customers that are bargain shoppers, they are being discriminated against. Is it ethically fair to not put certain ads on certain consumer’s web browsers just so they will spend more money in stores? The problem is that it could go well for the store or bad. By not giving the consumer available promotions it will be taking away a customer. Or possibly it could work out in their favor by making that customer by the tool for full price.

Personally, I believe it is ethically wrong that Best Buy used data mining in that sort of way. I think it is interesting how through data mining they were able to learn more about their customers. However, ethically it seems that the company is trying to deceive those customers who may not have the means to purchase something without coupons or cheaper rates. It is not fair or just to discriminate against a customer based on the type of shopper they are.

Case in Point: Crowdsourced News Tests Limits in Boston Bombings

Explosion at Boston marathon

With the Internet such an integral part of all of our lives, many ethical issues arise because of how unrestricted and virtually limitless the Internet is. One of these issues is citizen journalism. Citizen journalism can be a great thing, and can be reputable and well reported. But, it can also be extremely dangerous and cause issues when citizens, who think they know what they’re doing, “report” on things before they know all of the facts. People naturally want to be the first ones to know everything, and sometimes post things before finding out if it’s actually true. And the thing about the Internet is that once you post something, an unlimited amount of people can see it. It’s also never really gone even if you delete it.

Part of being a journalist is making sure that your sources are credible, and that you have the facts straight before you report on something. If you don’t, it can severely hurt your reputation and your credibility. “Citizen journalists,” or people Tweeting about events they witness don’t typically worry about this, and just post things as soon as they hear them. But, this can cause a snowball effect of misinformation and cause people to panic and react to things that aren’t even true. This can cause a huge problem in a crisis or during a big event. It can confuse police and security officials and cause major problems.

This is exactly what happened during the Boston Bombings, as described in the Case in Point in the “Harm” chapter. Bystanders and people in Boston were Tweeting things about the suspects and other details of the bombings that weren’t actually true. News stations even reported on things that people Tweeted that later ended up being disproved. This made the news stations look bad and lose some credibility. In the chaos, the stations seemed to be more interested in getting the newest story the fastest, instead of making sure their facts were straight.

Overall, citizen journalism can be extremely positive, and can help get the word out about important events in nontraditional ways. It’s quicker than traditional journalism, and typically has less of the biases that network news often has. But, it really can go wrong when people don’t think, or don’t know what they’re doing. One Tweet from a random person can get blown out of proportion, or misinterpreted, and before you know it it’s a huge mess.

Case in Point: Product Placement Makes Shows Real, but Is It Ethical?

“Product placement is so common now that we all know it occurs routinely” (Plaisance, 2014, pg. 87). This quote came directly from the Case in Point. When watching TV or movies it is inevitable that there will be some form of brand within the production. It is hard for productions to go unfunded by these products or get some form of benefit from them. It is hard to believe viewers are going to see a Papa Ginos’ pizza and automatically purchase a pizza from there. Product placement adds an authenticity to the production; it is unlikely that a movie that recently came out doesn’t have an Apple product from their watches, televisions, most common phones and laptops. All of these products can be seen in some form of production but it doesn’t make you the viewer want to purchase them. The way in which I see product placement being an issue is in children films or shows. I recall wanting anything and everything that my favorite characters in shows wanted. This generation of children could be exposed to certain brands within their shows and want the same products.

In Talladega Nights starring Will Farrell, there is a scene where they are eating dinner and everything at the table is product placement. They have brands such as Coca-Cola, Wonder bread, KFC, and others. Wonder bread was the biggest brand in the movie because that was the lead sponsor for Ricky Bobby’s race car. According to Thomaselli (2006) of Advertising Age, there wasn’t any form of money exchange between Sony and Wonder bread. The movie did bring about 4.3 million dollars in exposure. For fans of race car driving, the sponsors of the cars add authenticity, if they didn’t have these brands it wouldn’t feel as a legitimate racing movie. With the sponsorship of Bobby’s car it added to the film and it wasn’t necessarily publicity stunt. Also according to Thomaselli (2006), Wonder Bread was apparently bankrupt, so there was no way of them paying to be a part of this movie.

There are a few negatives about product placement, one is it becomes disruptive. In a USA network show, White Collar, they all have HP computers. Every time there is an office scene in one of the corners you can see the HP lighting up on the computers or laptops. It isn’t a massive zoom in to the logo, but as viewers it is noticeable. Same exact concept when it comes to their cars. During an episode they got a new ford car and they were using all of the gadgets and gizmos within the car. They also showed an accident in the car and the man survived but the fact it showed the durability and safety of the car was quite obvious. If viewers didn’t look that closely to the car brand, it would have never mattered. After studying product placement it becomes obvious when you see consistent logos in the background or forefront of shows.

Aside from it being disruptive, it could take away from the show. I noticed on White Collar when the wanted to point out aspects of the car, they would somewhat lose the seriousness of the scene. It became obvious that it was all to bring awareness to the accessories the car possessed. It didn’t all around ruin the episode or anything, but that split moment of promotion took a little away. Another negative which was mentioned in the book was the in the movie Flight. Denzel Washington’s character was an alcoholic pilot and his drink of choice was Budweiser.  This example of product placement could have a negative impact on Budweiser making it seem as if their product contains too much alcohol or causing alcoholism.

The fear of product placement is the artistic element of the film will be misconstrued as an ad campaign of some sort. When people go to movies they want to see it because of the actors, plot, or overall excitement for the movie. No one is taking away from what the actors, directors, and producers do. It is their work of art and that can’t be taken away because of some product placement in the background. It isn’t unethical or unruly towards the creators or cast of the show. It is a concept that has been added to the show for the betterment of authenticity. In my perspective it adds a form of reality to the production instead of drinking a drink unlabeled or using an unmarked product. It takes away from the movie when that happens; it looks as if it is missing something. Product placement could go either way ethically or unethically. I believe it has become part of television and movies in the 21st century.

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Thomaselli, R. (2006). Movie Gives Wonder Bread Exposure Worth $4.3 Million. Retrieved from

Case In Point

One of the most interesting “Case In Point” segments I found while reading is the one about Food Lion grocery stores. ABC used hidden cameras to get the inside story of a local Food Lion. The store was selling out of date products and forcing their employees to work off the clock. ABC wanted to get the full story and had their people get hired there. In the end, Food Lion took ABC to court after their sales decline 4.6 billion dollars. Their whole issues ignited the debate of the right use of hidden cameras used my journalist. This “Case In Point” dealt mainly with transparency.

For me I am happy that ABC covered the story, I think that as consumers we have the right to know the EXACT and proper date a grocery store’s food is being packaged. The consumer trusts the grocery store enough to buy their food, the least they can do is be transparent about when it was actually made. One report from The New York Times, quoted Diane Sawyer saying “We want to make it clear that ‘Prime Time’ staged nothing. What you saw on hidden camera is exactly what happened.” In my personal opinion, the public needs to know regardless, this is a serious matter of Food Lion not properly labeling their foods and could of lead to someone becoming very ill. The way I see it is if they are mislabeling dates what else could they of mislabeled, for example ingredients. What if someone had a deathly allergy? I would not trust Food Lion if I went in there today, and this case happened years ago. Their reputation was tarnished over this incident, and without ABC how would the public of ever known? I do not think it is just my opinion, recently I was in the South, where Food Lion typically is, and the person I was visiting drove extra distance to another grocery story because she said that Food Lion was “dirty.” Right before this I remember reading this “Case in Point” and wondering if they two connected in any way, even after all these years.


Company News: Food Lion Stock Falls After Report. Nov. 7, 1992. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Case in Point: Crowdsourced News Tests Limits in Boston Bombings

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (2015), crowdsourcing can be defined as the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community. Crowdsourcing has been viewed as going hand in hand with social media, both existing because of the power of connections. In a fast-moving manhunt like the one for the two suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombings, the two terms collided in an attempt to serve justice. A real time stream of cellphone images and Twitter updates helped in complementing and informing mainstream news accounts. While these updates from civilians can be extremely helpful and form a sense of a unified community, they can also be disastrous.

Crowdsourced efforts during the bombing led to numerous false accusations, posting innocent bystanders as people of interest. Specifically, photographs of two innocent high school students were published on the front page of the New York Post labeling them as people of interest (Palmer, 2013). In addition, Reddit users focused their attention on a missing Brown University student as a potential suspect, who ended up having no involvement in the bombings. Eventually the FBI communicated their frustrations with the efforts, expressing that other photographs should not be deemed legitimate (Palmer, 2013).

While crowdsourced efforts can lead to negative outcomes and tarnish reputations, the efforts must be considered if in the end the good can outweigh the bad. In the wake of the bombings, it was an iPhone photo that provided the clearest image of one of the suspects (Akagi & Linning, 2013). When used effectively, crowdsourcing can engage audiences and gather information. Security services cannot be everywhere at once and occasionally obtaining information from the public can have its benefits.

In a world of real-time social media platforms, it is difficult to stop false claims. And with the opportunity to quickly spread these claims through retweets and sharing, information can be leaked to thousands of people in just seconds. Although false information can potentially tarnish lives, I believe that if the good outweighs the bad it is a risk that should be taken. There are a lot of evils out there, especially with recent terrorist acts from groups like ISIS. Therefore, if we have the technologies we might as well use platforms like social media and crowdsourcing to our benefit.


Akagi, K., & Linning, S. (2013). Crowdsourcing done right: Crowdsourced journalism showed its limits during the Boston bombing, but that doesn’t mean it lacks value. Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (2015). Definition of crowdsourcing. Retrieved from

Palmer, R. (2013, April 19). Reddit’s false Boston bombing suspect IDs show limits of crowdsourcing. International Business Times. Retrieved from

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Case in Point: Product Placement

In the media today, transparency is essential to building trust and credibility with consumers and audiences. A brand’s overall success lies in its abilities to allow their information and content to be visible, open, trustworthy and honest. Another factor that ties into transparency is authenticity.

In the case of product placement, one of the advertising industry’s most popular techniques, brands create authentic environments, which makes situations in the media believable (Plaisance, 2014). Product placement is considered “the practice of embedding a product, brand or service icapture7nto a film or storyline in lieu of airing more traditional commercials (Plaisance, 2014). Product placement is prevalent across numerous media platforms today including film, television and music. Although this advertising method is so popular, why is it considered a problem?

The ethical question surrounding the appropriateness of product placement is disclosure. Since product placement has become so common, it is hard to determine when the appearance of a brand in some type of media platform is a form of artistic expression or simply a way to make money. Many do not see a problem in this type of advertising. However, many consider this a shameless advertising technique. At times, audiences can be turned off from a program for using product placement and diminishing its credibility. Today, different industries are working together to basically create a story around a specific product. For instance, Absolute Vodka got “Sex and the City” to build an episode around their drink called the “Absolut Hunk” (Plaisance, 2014). Although this is increasing brand awareness and somewhat enhancing a show, this practice can be seen unethical because audiences are unaware of the paid advertising they are being exposed to when choosing to watch television programs.

This research is appealing because of my thesis that I completed on product placements in contemporary music videos. In all of my research, product placement seemed very appealing to both creators and consumers. Product placements in music videos have proven to be successful in increasing brand awareness, brand recall and brand recognition (Burhalter & Thornton, 2014). As I was looking at how influential brands in this type of platform can be, I found that people were very aware of product placements, but generally weren’t influenced to purchase brands they’ve been exposed to. When looking at this through an ethical perspective, I now see the division between artistry and advertising. Since music is such an artistic platform and music videos are the chance for artists to tell a visual story, how are viewers able to distinguish the difference between the enhancing of a story or the way to make money?

In the two videos that I looked at in my thesis and asked survey respondents to screen, people were not very influenced in actually going out to purchase a product that they’ve seen in a music video. The two videos included “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga and “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus. Survey respondents were very aware and paid attention to the product placements in the videos, but this did not link to people’s purchase intentions. It is possible that the lack of people’s interest in purchasing the brands seen in the videos is directly linked to whether or not they see it as an unfair way to advertise to viewers.


Burkhalter, N. J. & Thornton, G. C. (2014) Advertising to the beat: An analysis of brand placements in hip-hop music videos. Journal of Marketing Communications, 20(5), 366-362.

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Case in Point: Dale Earnhardt & Privacy

EarnhardT pic

(Photo courtesy from

Since being about 6 years old I have been a fan of NASCAR. Most people believe it is boring and how hard can it be taking a left turn the whole race for 300-500 laps. After going to my first race in Loudon, New Hampshire I was hooked. That race was in 1999 or 2000 and I have been a fan since. The saddest moment in NASCAR history had to be in February 2001 at the Daytona 500 on the final lap with Michael Waltrip leading Dale Earnhardt Jr. around turn 4 and there car owner Dale Earnhardt trying to hold the cars behind him so his son and car drivers could race to the finish. Earnhardt lost control of his car and slammed into the wall in turn 4 collecting Ken Schrader. Earnhardt hit the wall head on and both his car and Schrader’s car slid down the banking into the turn 4-infield grass. Earnhardt was killed on impact and it was a sad time for the NASCAR community.

            A week after his death a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel filed a request to access the autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt. At the time, Florida law allowed public access to autopsy files (Plaisance, 187). NASCAR and Earnhardt’s widow Teresa Earnhardt denied the request to give the Orlando Sentinel the access to the files. The editor of the Sentinel Tim Franklin argued that the story represented a public issue about the safety in NASCAR and wanted to learn more about how Dale Earnhardt had died (Plaisance, 187). A judge agreed with Teresa Earnhardt saying the photos had no “bona fide newsworthiness.” (Plaisance, 187). Two months later, Florida governor Jed Bush signed a law that prohibited public access to autopsy photos unless a judge approved (Plaisance, 187).

            The issue that is brought up in this Case in Point is privacy. The Orlando Sentinel believed the public should know how Dale Earnhardt had died and the safety measures that should be implemented so another death doesn’t occur on the racetrack. NASCAR and Teresa Earnhardt believe that there was no need to showing the footage because safety measures were implemented but Earnhardt refused to wear the HANS device, which supports your neck and head into the seat. This restricts the whiplash of you head when involved in a crash. In todays NASCAR it is a rule that you must wear this device.


(Photo courtesy from

My thoughts on the issue are that NASCAR and Teresa Earnhardt have the right to refuse the release of the images. I know the Orlando Sentinel wanted to get a great story by getting the photos and bashing NASCAR for safety but it was in bad taste after the sports biggest star died. Since Dale Earnhardt’s crash no one has died in any of the NASCAR’s three major divisions during a race. The safety implications with the Car of Tomorrow to the Next Gen car, safety barriers at all speedways and safety equipment inside the car will continue to improve and protect the drivers and the fans.

Crash Replay, link above. Start at 3:30.


Plaisance, P, L. (2014). Media Ethics. Sage. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Case in Point Blog: Product Placement

Ian Knechtle

Case in Point Blog



Product placement in television shows and movies can be very effective, but also very damaging. They can be effective by not taking away from the story, creating brand identity, and building a relationship with the consumer. It can be a very powerful form of advertising by really pulling at the consumers desire to want something. It can be dangerous for many reasons also. These risks include taking away from the story, standing out and being a distraction, creating negative identity, and being seen as too persuasive and over the top.

There are many strong benefits to product placement that advertisers have noticed and acted upon. Product placement in television shows and movies can develop a strong relationship and devotion from the fans of that program. The fans will be drawn even more to the certain product because it reminds them of their show or movie. This can be very powerful by pulling in the fans as new and devoted consumers. Also, putting these products in films and shows can create a very positive image. This image can be built by portraying the product as something very positive that benefits the people in the movie or show. The product should definitely not stand out too hard so that it’s clear that it’s product placement, that would take away from the story and bring negativity to the product.

The negative side of product placement in television shows and movies is quite clear and damaging. As mentioned earlier, if it takes away from the story or causes a distraction that can be very negative and hurt the product. Putting a product in television and movies can be a risk by having it in an environment that is up for interpretation and can lead to a negative portrayal. Having a product present in a negative scene in a movie or show can lead to the fans not liking the product and leaning away from it. Also, ethically product placement might not be the best form of advertising. Some people see it as too persuasive and disguised. It can truly pull at emotions and change desires when done correctly and powerfully, which can be dangerous. People have started to catch on to that which has given product placement some bad light. The risks of product placement are very present and dangerous.

Overall, after weighing the risks and rewards of product placement, I would agree with it and use it if I was in advertising. Of course it has to be carried out very delicately and precisely, but the rewards outweigh the risks I believe. Product placement has made it easier for advertisers to get their messages to the audience especially in today’s world where many people skip the commercials during a television show’s break (Tanner, 2014). This new opportunity has opened doors for advertisers to reach the audience and not worry about the audience never receiving the message. Product placement can do an amazing job at connecting the audience to a product in a powerful way that will make the audience loyal to that product.

Tanner, R. (2014, September 8). Synergy Or Interference? How Product Placement In TV Shows Affects The Commercial-Break Audience. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

Blog Post Case in Study: Dove Campaign for “Real Beauty”

Mary Sansone

What I think is wonderful about the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign is the fact they truly go out of their way to show their customers real women by reminding us that no one looks like the models on the billboards because not even the models on the billboards look like them in reality. Photoshop is used constantly in advertising. Magazines, TV ads, Internet ads have all been retouched and edited. The real beauty that exists in the world has been distorted because of the portrayal of women in the media has been brought up to such high standards of models such as Victoria’s Secret. Dove took beauty and brought it back to reality in their Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.

The Dove commercial “Evolution” from 2006 that was shared in class of the women going through extreme make-up and photoshop process was the stepping stone and eye opener to the audience of their campaign. It told the truth. Philosopher Kant explains that “Lying and acts of deception become concrete assaults on the innate dignity that we all require as humans” (Plaisance, 2014, p. 85). The media is not lying to consumers with their words, but they are lying to us with images they present, giving unrealistic representations of women and ultimately leading to women not feeling beautiful.

This campaign has been successfully continuing on for almost ten years. In 2013, Dove took advertising to the next level. They released the “Real Beauty Sketches” ad, which shows women describing their appearances to a FBI  forensic sketch artist behind a curtain. According to Nina Bahadur from the Huffington Post (2014) it became the most-viewed video ad of all time. It brought reality and emotions to the media and to their loyal customers, reminding them that they are all beautiful.

Dove also released a billboard ad of “real”, diverse women in their underwear. They are natural, realistic, and not the typical model type one would see today on the media. One of the models from the campaign said “ ‘I grep up not being happy with my body shape and size at all,’ [Gina] Crisanti told NBC News in 2005. ‘I hated being curvy. I hated having big breasts. And I hated having curly hair. In my 20s, I realized all those [ideas] were simply self-destructive. Once I started to develop an alternative definition of beauty, all of it started to fall into place.” (Bahadur, 2014).  These advertisement have made a difference to women and the rebranding idea was genis and a must. Sharon MacLeod, vice president of UNilever Norh America Personal Care and on the team behind Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign told Huffington Post “ ‘We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough. We actually have to do something to change what’s happening.’” (Bahadur, 2014). And so, the Dove team spread awareness by showing the media what is done in photoshop (the Evolution ad) and continued the idea by carrying out the campaign in multiple ads.

I have always bought Dove products, but this campaign made me respect and trust them even more. It was a great idea to really sell their product, bring attention to their brand, and gain more customers.


Bahadur, Nina. “Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Turns 10: How A Brand Tried To Change The Conversation About Female Beauty.” The Huffington Post., 21 Jan. 2014. Retrieved from <;.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.

What is Dove’s message of “real” beauty?


~Photo Credit:

Dove’s intentions of their campaign advertisement were to raise women’s self-esteem and show “real” women in their “natural” beauty. “Real”.  That’s the main word that Dove uses to describe their campaign advertisement—“Campaign for real women”. What concerns me is the fact that Dove was promoting real and natural beauty and yet they had to photo-shop the real women that they portray on screen even though that is what they are trying to prove does not need to be done to make women beautiful.

Photo Credit~

As cited in the Public Relations Society of America member Code of Ethics by Plaisance (2014) is is imperative to, “be honest and accurate in all communications” and “avoid deceptive practices” (p.74). This ethical dilemma of photo shopping the women breaks these two points in the code. I find this to be a huge issue since not only is Dove not being transparent and not living up to the campaign advertisement but they are also breaking the public relations code of ethics.

Dove is also being immorally unethical because they are owned by the company Unilever who also owns the company Axe.according to ,   “Many have pointed out for years that Dove’s message of promoting women’s body images conflicts with ads from Axe, a male-oriented toiletry brand owned by Dove’s parent company, Unilever” (pg. 2, 2013). Axe offers a completely opposite view of this campaign. The Axe campaign tells men to buy their product because women will chase after them if they wear Axe.

Transparency is all about the interaction of others according to Plaisance (2014). I find Dove’s campaign advertisement to go against transparency because it does not serve as a positive interaction for its customers. Their campaign advertisement is deceptive and is not an honest depiction of real and natural women as they claim due to the photo shop editing. The only reason that this is a huge deal is because their whole campaign is to create natural beauty and they go against this by using photo shop themselves.


Kurtzleben, D. (2013)  Do Dove and Axe Sell the Same Message?: Dove’s feel-good campaign is a lesson in the trickiness of branding. Retrieved from: web.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.