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Consumerism and the Dark

Side of Consumer Behaviour



S.Victor Anandkumar
University of Mauritius

Some definitions «




But why?

Disillusionment with the system

The performance gap

The consumer information gap

Antagonism toward advertising

Impersonal and unresponsive marketing institutions

Intrusions of privacy

Different views of the marketplace
The focus is on Consumer Rights!

Right to safety

Right to be informed

Right to choose

Right to be heard

Right to consumer education

Right to recourse and redress

Right to an environment that enhances
the quality of life
Major Public Policy Issues

Deceptive advertising

Advertising to children

Telemarketing fraud
Deceptive Advertising

An advertisement which is potentially misleading or
literally false is deceptive.

Potentially misleading ads are difficult to evaluate
because miscomprehension may often occur.







Types of deception





Deceptive selling





Advertising to Children

Children influence some $180 billion in US purchases

($1.87 trillion worldwide).

An average child spends 3.5 hours in TV watching and is

exposed to more than 30,000 ads a year

Both policy makers and marketing managers have reacted

to criticism of advertising directed at children.

Sweden has banned advertising to children under 12.

Other measures:

Using a    between the program and the ad

Ban on host selling

Encourage truthful and accurate advertising that recognizes
children¶s cognitive limitations
Telemarketing Fraud

The elderly are vulnerable to fraud by


A program to combat this fraud is the

Know Fraud Program.

Organizations that fight telemarketing

fraud are the AARP, the FBI, the Post
Office, and others.
ëegligent Consumer Behavior

ëegligent behavior is composed of actions

and inactions that may negatively affect the
long-term quality of life of individuals and

This type of behavior can occur in two

different contexts:


# $   
Framework for Deviant Consumer Behaviour





 % Compulsive buying Addictive consumption





- Compulsive consumption

Compulsive gambling

!  Consumer theft Underage drinking

 Black markets Underage smoking
Drug use
Consumer theft
‡ Enticing product and
unfulfilled aspirations
‡ Contraband item
‡ Embarrassing item
‡ Low-perceived risk and high-
perceived opportunism Temptation
 Accessible product
 Limited security
 Crowded store
" Ô  
‡ Thrill-seeking tendencies THEFT
‡ Low-ticket item
‡ Accessible product Ability to
‡ Limited security
‡ Crowded store rationalize
" Ô  
‡ Attitudes towards the store
‡ Attitudes towards big biz
‡ Moral development
‡ Differential association
ëegative effects of marketing

Does advertising make consumers dissatisfied

with their appearance?

Does advertising make consumers materialistic

and hence dissatisfied with what they have

Does advertising misrepresent segments of


Does advertising cost or benefit the consumer?

Do marketing practices invade consumers¶

Corporate Social Responsibility

Firms have become viewed as responsible

for more than generating profits.

³Corporate social responsibility´ refers to

the idea that firms have an obligation to
help the larger society by offering some of
their resources.
Succeeding in the Long Run

A business¶s self-interest could be

advanced if the business embraced a long-
run view.

This position would permit expenditures in

support of socially responsible activities
and provide future benefits in the form of
consumer approval and loyalty.
Acquiring a Positive Public Image

One way of showing that companies are

socially responsible is by creating a
positive public image.

Another way that firms can show they are

socially responsible is by making speedy
product recalls.
The Diffusion of Rumors

Public peace of mind can be corrupted by

diffusion of rumors.

Rumors often plague both large and small

Types of Rumors

 rumors represent wishful thinking on
the part of the circulators.

 rumor is a fear rumor that spooks the
market place.

 rumors are based on a perception
of what could happen in the future if something
else were to occur.

 rumors individuals spread
rumors that may help them financially or

  rumors arise when people seek

explanations for unusual events.
Avoiding Regulation

A final reason to act in a socially responsible

manner is to avoid government regulation.

Most of the burden of social responsibility is

on marketers. They can do best by following
the strategies suggested, and maintaining a
positive initial corporate image and
responding quickly when difficulties arise.
Managerial Implications

Positioning. The concept of corporate social

responsibility has direct implications for the
positioning of a company. Efforts to create a
³good-citizen´ image help to position a firm as
one that puts customers first.

Environmental Analysis. A company¶s actions

must be in compliance with laws and regulation.

Research. Market research should be used to

determine how consumers view the company
Managerial Implications

Marketing Mix. Pricing, promotion, product

development, and distribution should be socially

Segmentation. Some population segments are

more concerned with issues of corporate social
responsibility than are other segments.