An eye-opening experience
My favourite module from Semester 1 was, without a doubt, Marketing Ethics, Critical Consumption and Corporate Social Responsibility.
I would dare say that this is a module that not many students consider before they begin their International Marketing MSc, as most of us are driven by other modules such as e-marketing or brand management.
However, I have to admit that this module has opened my eyes to a completely different reality, affecting my choices as a consumer and even more so as a future marketer, and it raises issues that all of us should be aware of regardless.
In the module, we discussed several different topics, from some companies falsely presenting themselves as environmentally friendly, others using LGBTQ+ symbols as a marketing ploy, and even how some corporations may be profiting off our personal data without us necessarily knowing it. I believe this is extremely relevant nowadays, as most of us carelessly use “free” applications without giving it much thought. Of course, this is not the side of marketing that we necessarily want to hear about, but I thought and still think, that it is incredibly important for us students to be aware of such malpractices and how we can improve the areas within this discipline that might be corrupted in order to make the world a fairer place.
I think that one of the things that I particularly enjoyed about this module was the fact that nothing was necessarily black or white. We had the chance to hold small group seminars every week which allowed us to explore a wide variety of topics, including gender stereotyping in children’s toys or ethical ways of targeting vulnerable audiences like the elderly. Personally, I thought it was a class in which we could all easily engage regardless of our background or nationality. In fact, that made it even more interesting, as things can vary greatly from country to country, and everyone has their own views based on their beliefs and experiences.
In terms of the module workload, although we had some reading and preparation to complete each week, I think it was also easy to stay on track. We discussed current issues and the classes were flexible enough for us to bring up scandals that we saw on the news or things that we were personally interested in, which I really enjoyed.
A deeper understanding
This was also applicable to our assignment, where we had to present four different ethical issues of our choice related to the 4Ps in marketing: price, product, place and promotion. Having the opportunity to focus on issues that we genuinely wanted to write about made it easier, I think, to not just perceive the task as something that we had to complete to pass the course, but also as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of an area that we were passionate about.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this module. Even though I must admit that there were times where it challenged me by making me reflect deeply on my own choices as a consumer. I have absolutely no interest in engaging in many of the practices that we pointed out in class, and I am now considering working in corporate social responsibility in the future, which is something that I never thought about before coming to Newcastle.
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