Marketers’ Ethical Dilemma

I heard a story on NPR the other day about a San Diego ophthalmologist who has developed a surgical procedure that enables your eyes to act like 3D glasses.  The only downside to this procedure is that some people have blurry vision when looking at real life! So the doctor is now working on corrective lenses that people who have this 3D surgery can wear to see real life clearly.

Now I know that cosmetic surgery is a valued piece of the American lifestyle, but having eye surgery to enable you to see 3D without glasses?  Isn’t this going a bit too far?  What does that say about people’s priorities?  Shouldn’t seeing clearly in real life be more important than watching a 3D movie or TV?

As a marketer, where do we draw the line on what we promote?  At one point in my early career I worked for Frito-Lay marketing salty snacks.  These are clearly bad for people if consumed in excess.   What about marketing tobacco products?  Should we enforce our values and priorities on other people by denying or enabling them to have the product or surgery?

Ultimately, this is a question that every marketer has to answer for himself.  I know where I net out on this 3D surgery, but I also acknowledge that the answer may differ for different marketers. 

What do you think?


About Karen Pelletier

Karen Pelletier is an independent Marketing Consultant. She has over 30 years of experience in consumer packaged goods, new product development, technology marketing, and Internet Marketing. She can be reached at
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