Business Ethics and corporate social responsibility(new) - Essay Example

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Business Ethics Analysis: Abercrombie & Fitch BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE DATE HERE Introduction and case description Just recently in 2013, comments uttered by the CEO of the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch met with considerable social backlash from a variety of stakeholders, including special interest groups, celebrities, and general society…
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Download file to see previous pages This is apparent in the company’s advertising and sales catalogues which depict aspirational youths maintaining the physical characteristics the company believes are stimulating to other youths who look toward reference groups to determine and shape their identities. The brand engages the desirable and shuns what the business considers the undesirable, the less attractive (Logue 2013). The CEO Mike Jeffries made an explicit commentary that the business hires only nice-looking individuals as sales representatives and managers in-store and that the company does not want people who are not cool to wear the company’s clothing (Levinson 2013). The majority of the branded clothing merchandise provided by Abercrombie & Fitch serves as a billboard for the company, presenting the business’ trading name in very visible and eye-catching font. As the CEO believes that this aspirational brand should retain its most loyal markets, this being trends-focused, attractive and youthful buyers, the company believes that marketing to other market segments would depreciate the brand value of the organisation and make it less inspiring to loyal consumers. Offered the CEO in a 2006 interview (which has recently resurfaced in mass media), “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong” (Levinson 2013, p.1). These comments angered one famous celebrity, Hollywood actress Kirstie Alley, who recently shed considerable weight and after having been the victim of media taunting about her explosive weight gain in recent years. Offered Alley, “blah, blah, blah, blah. That would never make me buy anything from Abercrombie. I’ve got two kids...they will never walk in those doors” (Winston 2013, p.1). In addition, advocates for the rights of overweight consumers have even developed mock advertising campaigns in an effort to bring public attention to the alleged unethical behaviours of the company. Figure 1: Mock A&F Publicity Exposing Hostile Sentiment about CEO Comments Source: LeTrent, S. (2013). ‘Attractive & Fat’ ad spoofs Abercrombie, CNN Living. [online] Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/living/abercrombie-attractive-and-fat (accessed 21 May 2013). The CEO responsible for creating this negative public backlash had, historically, stood by his comments, defending the statements as justifiable with brand strategy and corporate rights. However, with a sudden 17 percent drop in retail sales in the United States as a result of the controversy (Become Gorgeous 2013), the CEO offered, “We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying” (News Limited 2013, p.2). However, prior to this apologetic statement, Abercrombie & Fitch had been the historical target of special interest groups and general societal stakeholders for unethical business behaviours associated with alleged pornographically-centric depiction of its advertising models and for offending youth markets that are, essentially, shunned by the business and its representatives. Sales continue to fall with this company quarter by quarter. Literature review – Ethical leadership and stakeholder values Some of those who argue that Abercrombie & Fit ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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