Guest post by: Haley Koren, Strategic Communication Critic
By no surprise, a lovely feature article in Lands’ Ends catalog featuring feminist powerhouse Gloria Steinem was pulled in late February 2016. This article, as many soccer moms and PTA warriors alike, insinuated that Lands’ End promoted abortion. While I did understand the ethical dilemma at hand that Lands’ End faced, I do not think that they should have pulled the advertisement. In pulling the advertisement, it inherently admitted guilt and placed itself on a side of an ethical drama they were obviously blissfully ignoring.
Unfortunately for Lands’ End, it as a company got in this situation. I am unsure as to why Lands’ End believed that was not placing itself in the center of a controversy or was about to create one. Ethically, this was well-intentioned, as were it was so terribly embarrassed of its feature that it ended up pulling it to save face. On the other side of the coin, the cynic in me thinks that Lands’ End developed this campaign to create controversy and restore interest in the brand. While this cynicism is hopefully misguided there have been many companies in the past that have behaved in this manner.
I am always truly surprised by the fact that both men and women care so much about the choices that do not even touch them. Instead, they are preoccupied with the fact that their religion entitles them to tell others what and what not to believe. This is a personal passion of mine, as I do believe that every woman has the right to adequate healthcare, this includes abortion. My ethical dilemma came from the fact that, while reflecting on our case study, I truly felt disdain for Lands’ End as a brand. I did not respect the fact that Lands’ End pulled the advertisement. I felt as if it made it look like a spineless brand. Instead of being able to back up what they published, in this case an interview with Gloria Steinem, a feminist icon and trailblazer, they pulled the feature. This is true admission not only of ignorance, but of sheer fear of consumer power. This is why I find Lands’ End to be entirely unethical.