Bunny Butcher: PETA Protests Donna Karan New York
(7 pages of text)
November 29, 2010, was “Cyber Monday,” one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, with the potential to approach $1 billion in online sales in North America. The chief designer of fashion company Donna Karan New York (DKNY) was facing a difficult situation. On this particular Cyber Monday, activists for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had posted simultaneous messages on DKNY’s Facebook page. Anyone viewing the page could not fail to discern the “DK Bunny Butcher” message. This action by PETA was the culmination of several years, beginning in 2005, of attempting to convince DKNY to stop using fur in its collections. This November 29 message was a sharp reminder to both DKNY and its Cyber Monday customers that, up to this point, the company had refused to stop using fur. It was available to be viewed by DKNY’s over 200,000 Facebook fans as well as millions of online Cyber Monday shoppers. The chief designer was unsure how to respond: on one hand was the desire to clearly explain the use of fur, but on the other was the desire to avoid escalating the publicity surrounding the matter. She needed an immediate strategy that would retain her brand’s image and protect future sales.
This case was written to place students directly into the role of an organization facing an ethical situation and gives students a chance to develop their analytical, communication, and decision-making skills to evaluate a situation and provide a solution. Students will have the opportunity to consider ethical business practices and explore how non-government organizations use creative and innovative methods to pressure large businesses into making changes. Students will also explore how technology and social media are changing the methods of communication for businesses and consumers in the marketplace.
United States, Large, 2010
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