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The Campbell Soup Company - Business Ethics Dilema

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Essay title: The Campbell Soup Company - Business Ethics Dilema

Campbell Soup Dilemma


The Campbell Soup Company wanted to advertise the solid ingredients in its soup. However, the solid ingredients sank to the bottom of the bowl and could not be photographed. In order to remedy this predicament, the advertising group placed marbles in the bowl before adding the soup. Thus the vegetables rested on the top, giving the appearance of thick soup. I will use criteria from six ethical traditions/theories to express my opinion about the moral dilemma at hand. The six ethical traditions/theories are Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, Natural Law Theory/Virtue Ethics, Ethics of Care, and Symphonology.


English philosophers and economists, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill explained that an action is right if it promotes happiness and wrong if it promotes the opposite of happiness. They believed that human actions are motivated entirely by pleasure and pain. Utilitarianism relies upon some theory of intrinsic value; something is held to be good in itself, apart from further consequences. Moreover, all other values are believed to derive their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end. Bentham and Mill were hedonists; they analyzed happiness as a balance of pleasure over pain and thought that these feeling alone were of intrinsic value. In summary, utilitarianism is the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people.

The anticipated result of adding the marbles was showcasing the vegetables; thus making the soup more appealing to the consumer. Obviously, people generally prefer eating appealing foods to eating unappealing food. Also, eating typically makes people happy. Utilitarian belief is primarily concerned with the outcome and providing the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. The advertising group thought only of the outcome of the situation, which was to advertising the soup as being filled with vegetables. They demonstrated a Utilitarian view when selecting a solution for their advertising dilemma. The desired outcome was to make the soup be more appealing. They wanted the soup to look thick and appetizing, hopefully enticing the consumer to buy their product. However, this technique doesn't consider the morality of the situation. Is it moral to falsely advertise a product? I think that it is not moral. The soup should not be portrayed as being thick, if it is not. On the other hand, I think that it was clever of the advertisers to use marbles to elevate the vegetables in the soup. The company's outcome was to showcase the solid ingredients in the soup. They were successful in doing that. However, did they maximize the amount happiness for the greatest amount of people? I say no. The only happiness achieved here was for Campbell soup and the advertising group. The consumers probably will be unhappy when they realize that the soup they bought isn't as thick as they anticipated it to be.


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a German philosopher, is considered by many the most influential thinker of modern times. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason. No action performed solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. Kant described two types of commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative. The hypothetical imperative states that the command is tied to the consequences and individualized. The categorical imperative dictates that a course of action must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. There are three forms of categorical imperative: universality law, never use anyone, and moral law. First, the universality law suggests that one should only do something that sets a precedent for others to follow; one should never make an exception of one's self. Thus, one should not do anything that he/she would not be willing to have happen to him/her. Secondly, one should always treat people as an end, never as a means. Thirdly, moral law comes from within. Kant's theory is to judge moral worth based on the motive of the action. The right motive is to do that which is right because it is right.

The advertising group wanted to give the appearance of thick soup. In an attempt to make the soup look thick, they mislead the consumers by passing a not-so-thick soup off for a thick soup. Their motive was to convince customers that the soup was thick, but they did so in a misleading way. They were concerned only with making the soup more appealing to make a profit. The advertising group was only interested in their own self-interest, which is not moral law. Kant says that people should not be used as

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