Question: Several years ago R J Reynolds announced plans to test
Several years ago R. J. Reynolds announced plans to test market a menthol cigarette called Uptown specifically to black consumers. According to the company, about 70 percent of black smokers prefer menthol, more than twice the average rate. After market research showed that blacks tend to open cigarette packs from the bottom, the company decided to pack Uptowns with the filters facing down. Reynolds cancelled its plans after private health groups and government officials protested. Does a company have the right to exploit a subculture’s special characteristics, especially to increase sales of a harmful product such as cigarettes? What about the argument that virtually every business that follows the marketing concept designs a product to meet the needs and tastes of a preselected segment?
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