Op-Ed on Marketing Ethics

An op-ed, or opinion editorial, is an argumentative essay that presents the writer’s opinion or thoughts about an issue. Op-eds aim to persuade others and can substantiate the writer as an expert on a subject. An Op-Ed is an assignment that mirrors “real word” applications outside the classroom.
This essay assignment has two deliverables which combined are worth 5% of your course grade. You are required to submit a revised and improved final draft regardless of your first draft performance. You must fully engage in the writing exercise and demonstrate substantial improvement to receive full points.
Deliverables will be submitted via Cougar Courses to the corresponding “Turn It In” container – please check your course for deadlines. You will receive feedback on the first draft submitted to allow you to improve your writing.  
Assignment Format

Approximately 500 words


Include a cover page with the following: a descriptive title (not just “Report”), author’s name, class and section numbers, and date of submission

Use business-appropriate fonts and margin

Insert page numbers (except for the cover page, which should NOT be numbered)

Please note that due to the short format, there is no need for a table of contents and/or executive summary 

The use of headings/sub-headings is likely unnecessary given the short nature of this assignment – please exercise judgment

Cite references using APA style – use the resources at the end of this guide!

Consumers have often dealt with a sneaky problem in the shelves of supermarkets which economists have termed shrinkflation – that is, when items shrink in size or quantity, or even sometimes are reformulated or reduced in quality while their prices remain the same.  Here are some recent examples. Your task is to write an op-ed in response to the current trend of increasing shrinkflation in the marketplace. In your response, you should:

Connect your ideas to what you have learned about marketing – the 4Ps and creating value in the marketplace.  

Discuss how marketers can remain ethical in a marketplace where this practice is prevalent.

What would be an ethical and effective way for marketers to convey the changes in product/price to avoid losing customers and brand loyalty?

Should there be a disclosure notifying consumers of this change? And if so, how could this be done effectively?

How can you apply the common ethical philosophies discussed in chapter 2?

Cite at least one source (other than your textbook) to provide evidence for your claim(s).  A convincing op-ed is NOT purely based on opinion – your thesis needs to be backed up.

You are practicing writing as a business professional (i.e. the perspective of a marketer or other business executive not a consumer).

The purpose of an Op-Ed is to sway public opinion and change minds using a convincing argument and presenting it in a concise, readable way. Editorials are written according to a well-established formula:

Introduction – state the problem

Body – expresses an opinion

Solution – offers a solution to the problem

Conclusion – emphasizes the main issue

Lead paragraph: Try to grab readers right away with your first sentence; make them want to read more. Start with an interesting story or example that encapsulates your point.
Supporting paragraphs: Now that you’ve stated your point and grabbed readers’ attention, build on your lead with facts, statistics, and anecdotes.
Wrap it up: In the concluding paragraph, take your argument a step further and leave readers with information about what needs to be done next. If you’re trying to move people to action, be sure to answer the question, “What can I do?” Make the final sentence as compelling as the first one. If you started with an example, bring the story full circle by referencing your original point.
Writing an Op-Ed
Think of an opinion piece as a persuasive essay: the writer has an opinion or a point of view on an issue and he or she wants to convince the reader to agree. This is not as easy as it may seem. 

Start with a sentence. Try to sum up your opinion in a single sentence to begin, then think about facts and anecdotes to support your initial point. The first line of an op-ed is crucial. The opening “hook” may grab the reader’s attention with a strong claim, a surprising fact, a metaphor, a mystery, or a counter-intuitive observation that entices the reader into reading more. The opening also briefly lays the foundation for your argument.

State your opinion clearly. An op-ed is about your opinion and perspective. Put your argument forward in a persuasive, authoritative manner. However, it is important to acknowledge the other side. People writing op-ed articles sometimes make the mistake of piling on one reason after another why they’re right and their opponents are wrong. Your writing will be more credible, and almost certainly more humble and appealing if you take a moment to acknowledge the ways in which your opponents are right. When you see experienced op-ed authors saying “to be sure,” that’s what they’re doing.

Be informal BUT professional. Use simple, everyday language that is easy to understand. Keep in mind you are writing for a general audience that may not be as familiar with your subject as you are. Use the active voice. Don’t write: “It is hoped that [or: One would hope that] the government will …” Instead, say “I hope the government will …” Active voice is nearly always better than passive voice. It’s easier to read, and it leaves no doubt about who is doing the hoping, recommending or other action.

Keep it short and simple. State your opinion clearly and quickly, back it up with facts and examples, then finish up.  Use short sentences and paragraphs. Look at some op-ed articles and count the number of words per sentence. You’ll probably find the sentences to be quite short. You should use the same style, relying mainly on simple declarative sentences. Cut long paragraphs into two or more shorter ones.

Do your research. You must research your topic and find out what’s happening and what went on in the past. You must know the facts and be able to refer to them in your argument (Pretend you are a lawyer and you are making a case before a jury. You will want to convince the members of the jury to believe that your client is right. Therefore you need to present as much evidence as you can that proves the point. You do the same when you write a column or editorial). Use facts and details to back up your opinion and help you make your case.

Finish strong. Leave your readers with a lasting impression — a strong point that will make them consider your point of view. 

Use the writing guide posted in cougar courses. This reference was created for CoBA students by a couple of faculty members to help with senior experience projects

Please consider visiting the Writing Center, which is committed to your growth in all stages of the writing process (brainstorming, planning, drafting, revising). For the best results, go early and often for an assignment. 

This website offers great tips and tricks on writing an op-ed: https://www.theopedproject.org/oped-basics 

This website offers excellent resources to support your writing development – especially if you need guidance on proper APA citation: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html 

Online tools like http://www.hemingwayapp.com/  and https://www.grammarly.com can help you strengthen your writing by identifying common grammar mistakes as you type.

Citation help: http://www.citationmachine.net  (please note that you need to check the citation produced for accuracy – not all websites and publications are detected correctly).