International Legal and Ethical Issues in Business

In: Business and Management

Submitted By MarianSue
Words 1566
Pages 7
Marian Malone
International Legal and Ethical Issues in Business
October 25, 2015

Abstract What kind of statements are companies allowed to make in their advertising campaigns to get noticed by the general public? How much of this advertising is taken seriously by the general public? Will a company be held responsible to follow through for their statements made in an ad campaign? We will examine these questions in this paper.

In 1999, a Seattle man took a popular soft-drink company seriously when one of its commercials made an offer of a Harrier jet, the famous high-tech jump jet used by the U.S. Marines. In a TV commercial that aired in 1995, the company jokingly included the Harrier as one of the prizes that could be received with a mere 7 million company points. Although that sounds like a lot of points to get from drinking the soft drink company's products (roughly 190 drinks a day for 100 years), the company also allowed customers to purchase points for 10 cents each. The man did the math and discovered that the cost of the 7 million points needed for the jet was $700,000. He then put together a business plan, raised the $700,000 from friends and family, and submitted 15 points, the check, and an official order form along with a demand for the Harrier jet. The company wrote back, stating that the Harrier jet in the commercial was simply used to created humorous and entertaining advertisement. They apologized for any misunderstanding or confusion people may have experienced and enclosed some free product coupons. The free coupons did not satisfy the man, who then took the soft drink company to court. Finally, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York held that the company was only joking when it implied in its ad that it was giving away fighter jets. The judge noted…...

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