Is "COVID-19 marketing" ethical?

11 replies
I'm sure all of you received a lot of emails with approximately the same content: "It's hard COVID times, but we are here to help your business stay alive. Here is your XX discount." It seems like many use the pandemic as an opportunity to sell, offering a discount the same as during Halloween, Black Friday, or Christmas. Since 10-20% off for a $10-20 subscription is not likely to help a lot and they also don't offer discounts for existing users, it all looks like marketing based on a disease. Doesn't it all look bad?


Ananda Aisola
I've seen a lot of startups do this for job posting sites, which frankly I find unethical. They scraped the names off some list and are contacting people without their permission to promote their job search portal.
@ananda_aisola I received this type of email from almost every service where I was signed up for a free trial, including quite famous companies.
Mr Ethar Alali
@ananda_aisola This one is definitely horrific! People are looking for work atm and in the scam uses for this, it's phishing and exploitative.
Petr Němec
It depends how it is done. Most of the time it is just an excuse to make noise, but some company actually made effort to adapt to covid; like converting alchool into hand sanitazer.
Fabian Maume
It depends. If the company is using its resources to help mitigating covid I would say it is ethical. A good example might be Apify which used its webs craping infrastructure to help aggregate statics about covid. Mapotic is another example of Czech start-up which did it right in my opinion: they created free map to find mask dispensers and testing sites. If covid marketing is just blasting one email telling "we stand together" but there is no action from the company on the front line, I don't see the point.
Dragos Bulugean
It depends on how they do it, but in my opinion, most of them are not ethical in their approach, they just do it to boost some sales metrics.
Ana Bibikova
Common, is it only about COVID marketing? I mean, when people promise you to lift your business on the next hight for "$199/month" or "save your time, money and efforts for $99/month but billed annually" isn't it a part of the same story? I'm sure there is a number of businesses that really hope to be saved for a reasonable monthly subscription fee, but it never actually happens. We're all reasonable people and we realise there're no easy solutions for our problems, but we fall again and again for the promise to be rescued by a wave of a magic wand with convenient Stripe billing. My point is that marketers use our fears, hopes and hidden agendas all the time. Why COVID narrative should be any different?
@anab You are right. Marketing by nature is not super ethical
Cathrin Schneider
As soon as it becomes a "marketing" initiative, most become unethical as -by nature- they try to increase revenue/growth. But there are excellent examples out there that really benefit the customer AND the business at the same time. Like relief programs for customers in financial trouble. This helps the customer and the business will keep a loyal customer.