Business Ethics in the McCormick Maple Extract Case

Subject: Business Ethics
Pages: 1
Words: 293
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor

The business situation described in the selected article has major ethical implications. The authors maintain that false statements are unethical even if they are not misleading (The Editors, 2018). Eagle et al. (2020) support the position and claim that the advertising/marketing industry is heavily criticized for the lack of respect and consideration for the stakeholders. The example of McCormick maple extract demonstrates that the ideals of honesty and reliability were violated by the marketers of the product. Unethical advertising practices, such as false statements related to product volume or quality, may negatively affect brand loyalty (Eagle et al., 2020).

Furthermore, the consequences of deceptive practices may threaten the company’s financial well-being, which depends on customer loyalty associated with certain ethical values (credibility, consistency, transparency). The case of McCormick product does not involve the infringement of moral rights because the situation addressed by the article describes false advertising rather than the issues of copyright law.

The Utilitarian and the Kantian approaches can provide different recommendations to mitigate the impact of the situation. The Utilitarian theory is based on the idea that the behavior is ethical if it contributes “the greatest good to the greatest number” of people, while harm can be justified (Eagle et al., 2020, p. 8). A Utilitarian would recommend the marketers to emphasize the functionality and the benefits of the product to the consumers and justify false statements if they lead to positive consequences (increased profit and customer value). The deontological Kantian theory suggests that an action is ethical if it is defined by moral duty (Eagle et al., 2020).

Therefore, the supporters of the philosophy would recommend the marketers to change their motivation from maximizing the profits via false statements to attracting/retaining customers through honest advertising and consistent product quality.


Eagle, L., Dahl, S., Pelsmacker, P. D., & Taylor, C. R. (2020). The SAGE handbook of marketing ethics. SAGE Publications.

The Editors. (2018). Can ad copy be false but not misleading? If so, is that OK? Business Ethics Highlights. Web.