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Marketing Without a Conscience
By: Cindy Wendland
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Looking through a women's fashion magazine, there was a two-page spread for electronic cigarettes, complete with the nicotine warning label. It was appalling. How could this be? Wasn’t all that advertising banned as part of the tobacco settlement? How could someone actually be the product manager for e-cigs and market that product?

There are companies that employ deceptive marketing practices. There are companies that knowingly mislead the customer in the pursuit of profits and satisfying a board and shareholders. There are some companies that market products that can be misused but are very helpful when used properly. On the flipside, there are companies that are recognized for being great places to work, great places for women, and great with the environment.

Some product managers are happy to get experience and don’t really care what product they represent — these would have to be the men who rep feminine hygiene products. Some product managers are choosy about the products they manage and want to make a difference in the lives of others. We don’t drink soda in our house, but that doesn’t mean we think less of Pepsi product managers, because many people do like soda. But which kind of product manager would want to market e-cigs?

Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but they do contain nicotine-infused water, which is heated via a lithium battery to create an odorless vapor. The idea is to simulate the smoking experience while delivering the addictive nicotine smokers crave.

At recent summer festivals, kids (well maybe young 20-somethings) were passing around their e-cigs. A 10-year-old recently stated he couldn’t wait to use the e-cigs with the cool colors, unless they were bad for you. If the e-cigs still carry a nicotine warning, we shouldn’t be romanticizing them to our youth. We know the dangers ahead for these young people. All we’ve done with e-cigs is toned down cigarettes in trendier, more colorful packaging that is appealing to our younger generation. This is called marketing without a conscience.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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