Sarah has recently been hired as a creative director at one of the hottest agenc


Sarah has recently been hired as a creative director at one of the hottest agencies in the country. It is her dream job. She is leading an award-winning team that is working on the agency’s largest and most lucrative account—a world-renowned women’s fashion brand. Her team is currently under a great deal of pressure to prepare a dynamite campaign for a new product introduction—a new line of fashions for teenage girls. Since sales of its flagship women’s fashion brand have been stagnant, the client believes that this campaign is crucial to the continued viability of its business. Furthermore, the client has hinted that if the campaign is not an unqualified success (that is, truly sensational), then the entire account will go out for competitive bidding, and a new agency will likely be selected. Sarah is eager for the team to continue its winning record under her leadership, and she knows that losing this account would be devastating to the agency.
However, an issue related to the campaign has begun to concern her. Specifically, the models selected for the campaign are young and exceedingly thin—heroin chic thin. Sarah recently has read some research regarding the negative effects that ultra-thin female images in the media can have on teenage girls and their conceptions of beauty, and she feels uncomfortable about the images of beauty portrayed in the campaign. When she questioned one of her staff about this, he told her that the client liked this type of model, which had been used in its previous campaigns, and that it was the client’s prerogative to use any type of model he wanted. Sarah knows that any questions that she raises could have negative effects on her staff. Since she is new, Sarah very much wants to win the respect and confidence of her team. She does not want to tinker with the team’s winning formula, and she does not want to do anything to constrain their creativity.
QUESTIONS:
What, if anything, is ethically problematic about this case?
Who, if anyone, is potentially affected by this approach and how?
What ethical guidelines apply in this case?
What options are available to Sarah?


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