The Consumer Mindset blog offers thoughts, research, analysis and insights on a variety of issues impacting consumers.
So, how ethical is jabbing your competitor for the purpose of personal gain-either in increased market share or a pricing war?
There's research evidence that most American consumers say comparative advertising is useful, so that argues for it being ethical. But ethics is a cultural concept. In Japan, consumers are much more likely than Americans to find comparative advertising to be—well, since it's a Jack in the Box ad, let me say distasteful. I think that's largely because the Japanese culture is collectivist, in which great value is placed on everybody playing well with others. But Japan is also home to kuroi kiri, the system that most Americans would call highly unethical bribes. It's all relative. Although I understand Danika Heatherly's point, I found the Jack in the Box ad to be good fun.
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