Running advertising campaign for a bottle of cologne
Running head: Bus-290 Ethics and the Conduct of Business Sexual harassment in advertising Robert L.
Martin Strayer University Ethics and the Conduct of Business Bus-290 Prof. Hartman November 16, 2009 Sexual harassment in advertising Could a company’s advertising ever contribute to an environment in which harassing behavior is more likely to occur? That is, should a company consider the impact of an advertising theme on the behavior of their own employees? In your opinion, did the Swedish bikini team advertising campaign contribute to the harassing behavior of the women’s male coworkers? No, harassment is an individual act of a person.Companies have harassment policies that discourage this type of behavior. The company employee’s advertising agencies to create the advertisement for the product.
The advertising agencies and the company have no idea of the impact of an advertisement on an individual. The individual alone is responsible for his or her harassing behavior whether Sexual or not. As far as Stroh Brewing Company and the Swedish bikini team advertisement is concerned, the employee’s are responsible for the harassment to the women employees. Businesses for decades have used sex in some way or another to advertise the product of a company.The advertising campaign of Stroh Brewing Company with the Swedish bikini team is no different, than an advertising campaign for a bottle of cologne or perfume.
This is not to say the five women that sued Stroh Brewing Company were not harassed. Just that the advertising of the beer was not a contributing factor. According to an article in the New York Times, the lawyer for the women charged that some of the male coworkers and a supervisor sexually harassed the women numerous times and would verbally insult the women.
She also cited suggestive graffiti and calendar photographs of nude women in the suit. Elliott, THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Suit Over Sex in Beer Ads Comes as Genre Changes, 1991). As far as the advertising campaign contributing to the actions of the male coworkers listed in the suit it is unreasonable to believe this could happen. Critics have claimed that sex in advertising has lead to harassment in the workplace for years. Yet, companys still use sex advertising to this day. Most if not all companys have sexual harassment policies to try to protect the company from suits of this type, some companys go even farther than that in dealing with sexual harassment.The advertising that Stroh Brewing Company was doing, was meant as a spoof on sexist beer advertising to appeal to younger consumers with the Swedish bikini team.
Women objected that the team celebrated, rather than parodied, stereotype, a charge that intensified when the Swedish bikini team appeared on the cover of Playboy issued January. Though the campaign generated controversy it truly helped to grab the attention of the consumers. (Elliott, THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING– ADDENDA; No Bikini Team In New Stroh Ads, 1992). The law suit came as many of the country’s brewers are attempting to change the way they advertised.Trying to eliminate any content that could be construed as sexist. The young writers and art director at ad agencies have grown up in an era that is more sensitive to what people think and feel. As a result the old-line, old-style stuff is fading from prominence.
(Elliott, THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Suit Over Sex in Beer Ads Comes as Genre Changes, 1991). The advertising campaign of a company should be protected under free-speech of the constitution. A reasonable person would never think that another person would act out on an advertisement that one had seen on television.Taking the free-speech side, Stroh brewing has the right to choose its own advertising.
(Reske, 1991). The judge in the case would not allow the advertising in as evedence. Therefore my opinion at the start of this paper stands.
Only the mal coworker can be held responsible for the sexual harassment of th women. The calender and other greffiti in the worplace can be cosidered as harassing material. The company should have taken action to eliminate those type of material and if the women had taken their complant to the management then it would be the companys responsibility to take action to stop the harassment.The advertiseing and individual action hs raised the case above the typical sexual harassment complaint and into the constitutional realm of free speech and censorship. Whatever the evenual resolution of the matter, the blantan use of sex in beer ads may be coming to an end. (Reske, 1991) References: Elliott, S.
(1992). THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING– ADDENDA; No Bikini Team In New Stroh Ads. New York: New York Times.
Elliott, S. (1991). THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Suit Over Sex in Beer Ads Comes as Genre Changes. New York: New York Times. Reske, H. J. (1991).
Stroh’s Ads Targeted. ABA JOURNAL , 20,21.