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THE ETHICS OF PINKWASHING: Is pink the new black? But not all pink products — which signify donation is not tied to product sales,” to toasters, consumers may notice more breast cancer awareness — carry an Berg says. product packaging increasingly turning equal benefit. From shoes to fried chicken and cars Unfortunately, most charities are reluc- Specifically, Berg’s research critically tant to speak up against a business that fashion than with marketers aligning with analyzed the marketing ethics of Mike’s donates money to them, Berg says. As a breast cancer awareness. But is this always Hard Pink Lemonade and KitchenAid Cook result, she recommends that communication a good thing? for the Cure. Berg’s methods applied a test practitioners and industry leaders should shades of pink. The hue has less to do with that measures the marketing campaign’s take a stand for universal standards for of public relations, found in her research fulfillment of truthfulness, authenticity, cause-related marketing. that some brands may be engaging in respect, equity and social responsibility. Dr. Kati Tusinski Berg, assistant professor a process known as “pinkwashing,” or “The persuasive communication used in marketing that has more to do with the these campaigns fail to meet the five prin- business bottom line than giving back. ciples of the test,” Berg says. “We argue that “Some companies take advantage of consumers’ concern about breast cancer,” In one example, Mike’s Hard Lemonade failed to disclose on its packaging that its marketing pink products while donating donation to the Breast Cancer Awareness little or nothing to the cause.” Foundation was not tied in any way to last decade for cause-related marketing, which attempts to gain customers by tying purchases of goods or services to charity. “Think before you pink,” she says. — TC consumers are particularly vulnerable.” Berg says. “In reality, they’re profiting from Berg noted a dramatic increase in the And in the meantime? Consumers should be wary. consumer purchase or action — which may have encouraged fewer sales. “Their message is deceptive because the packaging does not explicitly state that the WHAT’S THE VALUE IN A LEGAL BRIEF? As a practicing attorney, Chad Oldfather In developing his methodology, What he found in the preliminary data often wondered how fully judges engaged Oldfather and his research partners, who is, first, enough of a correlation between with the briefs he submitted on behalf of include University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee the computational and human assessments his clients. computer science professor Dr. Joseph to support the conclusion that the compu- Bockhorst, employed three ways of analyz- tational methods are getting at what they Law School, Oldfather has devoted much of Now a professor at Marquette University ing a group of cases decided by the U.S. are intended to measure. There was also his scholarly attention to exploring just how Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Two a “relatively surprising lack of correspon- focused on input from litigants judges should of the analyses involved computational dence between opinions and briefs,” says be. Most recently, he used computational methods, which allowed researchers to Oldfather — suggesting that judges weren’t methods to assess whether decisions issued “read” large numbers of documents in a strongly influenced by the briefs that by the court actually reflected the briefs sub- short period of time. The first, in effect, attorneys labored over. As the methodol- mitted by the litigants in a particular case. treated the briefs and opinion in each case ogy becomes more sophisticated, it has the as a collection of words and assessed the potential to provide payoffs to academics on faith that judicial opinions accurately “Legal scholarship has historically taken overlap among them. The second measured and practitioners alike. reflect the facts of the cases they discuss the overlap in authorities cited, such as because there was no alternative,” he statutes and prior cases, in the opinions of assessing how courts behave, which may continues. “This work can help us assess and briefs. The third used a structured in turn be useful for assessing if they’re whether that is true.” It might also help reading of the three documents, includ- behaving as we want them to, and thinking inform practicing attorneys about whether ing a series of human judgments about the about how we might respond if they are certain features of briefs tend to resonate extent to which the opinions responded to not,” concludes Oldfather. — BOM more with the court. the briefs. “We are trying to develop another way Marquette University 21