Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Ethical marketing and the new consumer

May 2010

Chris Arnold. Wiley. 272 pages. Hardback. £14.99.

As a marketing professional, Chris Arnold has delivered both ethical and traditional marketing campaigns.  His book therefore aims to challenge conventional thinking by introducing the reader to a wide range of ethical matters as they pertain to marketing.

This he does by looking at marketing techniques, corporate responsibility topics and the ethical issues involved in different industry sectors.  

However, as the book is designed so that one can dip into and out of it, the chapters fail to build on each other – and as a result we’re left with rather shallow discussions that raise issues but rarely address them fully.  On some corporate responsibility topics Arnold also fails to convey the complexities involved.

His examination of how marketing can be thoughtfully altered to more effectively engage consumers is very useful. But while the book is peppered with good practice examples, it is rarely made clear how effective such practices have been at changing sales, behaviour or attitudes.

Also disappointing is the number of issues Arnold raises and then leaves hanging in the air.  He says, for instance, that consumers change their habits during a recession – but has no advice on how ethical marketing can respond to this.

For someone new to ethical marketing, this book certainly acts as an accessible guide to how to avoid greenwashing.  But for those who aren’t so new, it provides a commentary on the current state of ethical marketing and not much more.

Jayanti Durai

Jayanti Durai | Global | Marketing

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