Analyze the Uptown Cigarettes Controversy

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Marketing consists of more than advertising. Marketing is a mixture of product, place, price and promotion (advertising). Each aspect of the marketing mix will influence the other three aspects, eventually creating synergy. At each juncture, decisions must be made as to the audience being targeted for the product. For example, feminine hygiene products are created specifically for a specific age group of women while beard trimmers are created for men with considerable facial hair. This does not imply that only women or women of a certain age group use the product as designed nor that beard trimmers are used solely by men for trimming beards.
Marketing research, prior to 1990, had shown that less than one in three smokers smoke menthol cigarettes; however; more than two out of three African American smokers choose menthol cigarettes. With such results of marketing research, a menthol cigarette specifically created for and marketed towards African Americans should be an expected conclusion.
As a result, in 1990 R.J. Reynolds created and test marketed Uptown cigarettes specifically for the African American community. (See at Targetting [sic] of African Americans or R.J. Reynolds’ Targeting of African Americans: 1988–2000.)
Using the Uptown cigarettes controversy as a base, discuss whether marketing may be identified and understood as discriminatory when targeted towards one specific gender, race or demographic group. Identify those elements which make the difference between acceptable marketing practices and discriminatory marketing practices.
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