READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
Corporate social responsibility - a new concept of “market”
Maybe Ben & Jerry’s and The Body Shop set themselves up for a fall by appearing to have a monopoly on making an honest buck. But their struggles are a lesson on how little we know about the minefield of “ethical” marketing. The Body Shop, along with the American ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s, was hailed as a new breed of green, or environmentally conscious, business.
Ben and Jerry’s
A. Ben & Jerry’s offers a very sweet benefits package to employees. First, every one of the 700+ Ben & Jerry’s workers is entitled to three free pints of ice cream, sorbet or frozen yoghurt per day worked. (Some workers use allotments of their free treats to barter for other goods and services in town such as haircuts). [Crack IELTS with Rob] Beyond the freebies, personnel receive a 50% discount on the company’s frozen goodies, a 40% discount on merchandise and a further 30% break on no- Ben & Jerry’s foods at company outlets.
B. Workers are further entitled to paid family leave and may take advantage of the Employee Stock Purchase Program to purchase company stock (after six months with the organization) at a 15% discount. Beginning in 1998, 316 stock options are awarded to each worker (excluding directors and officers) and stock is also assigned to each employee’s 410K plan at the end of the calendar year. [Crack IELTS with Rob] These contributions are intended to achieve the company’s goal of linked prosperity, i.e. to assure that future prosperity is widely shared by all employees.
C. History of The Body Shop Anita Roddick started The Body Shop with a mere £4,000 and a dream. With over 1,900 stores in 50 countries. The Body Shop was founded in 1976 in Brighton, England. From her original shop, which offered a line of 25 different lotions, creams, and oils, Roddick became the first successful marketer of body care products that combined natural ingredients with ecologically-benign manufacturing processes. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Her company’s refusal to test products on animals, along with an insistence on nonexploitative labor practices among suppliers around the world, appealed especially to upscale, mainly middle-class women, who were and have continued to be the company’s primary market. As sales boomed, even the conservative financial markets approved of The Body Shop’s impressive profit picture, and a public stock offering in 1984 was successful. An expansion campaign followed. In 1988 the company entered the U.S. market by opening a store in New York City, and by 1977 the company boasted 1,500 stores, including franchises, in 47 countries. Anti-marketing seemed to be smart marketing, at least as far as The Body Shop was concerned.
D. Part of the secret of The Body Shop’s early success was that it had created a market niche for itself. The company was not directly competing against the traditional cosmetics companies, which marketed their products as fashion accessories designed to cover up flaws and make women look more like the fashion models who appeared in their lavish ads. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Instead, The Body Shop offered a line of products that promised benefits other than appearance – healthier skin, for instance – rather than simply a better-looking complexion. The company is known for pioneering the natural-ingredient cosmetic market and establishing social responsibility as an integral part of company operations. The Body Shop is known for its ethical stances, such as its monetary donations to be communities in which it operates, and its business partnerships with developing countries. In 1988 Roddick opened her first store in the United States, and by that time – through various social initiatives such as the “Stop the Burn” campaign to save the Brazilian rainforest (the source of many of the company’s natural ingredients), and strong support of employee volunteerism – The Body Shop name had become synonymous with social activism and global preservation worldwide. The company had also become immensely profitable.
E. By the mid-1990s, however, The Body Shop faced growing competition, forcing it to begin its first major advertising initiative, the most prominent part of which was the “Ruby” campaign. The campaign was personified by Ruby, a doll with Rubenesque proportions who was perched on an antique couch and who looked quite pleased with herself and her plump frame. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Randy Williamson, a spokesperson for The Body Shop, said, “Ruby is the fruit of our long-established practice of challenging the way the cosmetic industry talks to women. The Ruby campaign is designed to promote the idea that The Body Shop creates products designed to enhance features, moisturize, cleanse, and polish, not to correct ‘flaws’ The Body Shop philosophy is that there is real beauty in everyone. We are not claiming that our products perform miracles.”
F. The Competition the Body Shop lost market share in the late 1990s to product-savvy competitors that offered similar cosmetics at lower prices. The main competitors are H20, Sephora, Bath and Body Works, and Origins. Research Results Research showed that women appreciate The Body Shop for their ethical standards. They are pleased by companies with green actions, not promises. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The research proved that The Body Shop has been put on the back burner in many people’s minds: overcrowded by newer, fresher Brands. Companies like the Body Shop continually hype their products through advertising and marketing, often creating a demand for something where a real need for it does not exist. The message pushed is that the route to happiness is through buying more and more of their products. Under such consumerism, the increasing domination of multinationals and their standardised products is leading to global cultural conformity. Other downfall factors also include misleading the public, low pay and against unions, exploiting indigenous people; Also the mass production, packaging and transportation of huge quantities of goods are using up the world’s resources faster than they can be renewed and filling the land, sea and air with dangerous pollution and waste.
G. The Problem The Body Shop has used safe and timid advertising over the last decade, decreasing market share and brand value. With the rise of new, more natural and environmentally friendly competitors, The Body Shop can no longer stand behind being the greenest or most natural. The Solution The Body Shop is the originator of ethical beauty with our actions speaking louder than our words. [Crack IELTS with Rob] This is the new direction of The Body Shop. We will be a part of different acts of kindness in big cities. We will eliminate unwanted graffiti, purify city air, and give the customer an opportunity to be a part of something good.
Questions 1 - 4
Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs, A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.
1. An action is taken to Establish social responsibility in the conservation projectE
2. A description of the conventional way the ads applied to talk to its customersF
3. A history of a humble origin and expansionD
4. Management practices are intended to line up the company’s goal with participants’ prosperityB
Questions 5 - 7
Choose THREE correct letters, A-F.
What THREE things are true about Ben & Jerry’s company management?
Write your answers in boxes 5-7 on your answer sheet.
Questions 8 - 10
Choose THREE correct letters, A-F.
What THREE things are the factors contributing to the success of the BODY SHOP?
Write your answers in boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet.
Questions 11 - 13
Choose THREE correct letters, A-F.
What THREE things are the factors leading to the later failure of BODY SHOP company?
Write your answers in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.