Truth and advertising

Can you read the fine print?

If you take a close look at advertisements on TV, you’ll notice that some ads have clarifying statements that will flash on your screen for nano-seconds milli-seconds and disappear. For example, one says: Percentage of women who claimed effectiveness in a consumer test. (I could be mistaken because it flashes by too quickly.)

These will be typically done in ads that tell you that product A works 76.8% more effectively. Than what? I’m also guessing that the advertisers realise that most people won’t read the clarifications posted in extra-small font.

Then, there are the stars (*) next to the “It’s a great sale” ads in the newspapers and magazines. These stars will tell you that the sale is on from 10 to 4 on even numbered days that are divisible by 3. Or some such thing.

What about the ads where some doctor or dentist tells you that a product is good for you? Are these real doctors? If so, are they paid to endorse the company’s products? Which one should I listen to–the one who says use product X and another who says use product Z?

If that’s not bad enough, there’ve been articles now about using ads to target children because of their pester-power. Pester power = The power that kids have to pester parents into buying a product. What’s next: foetal advertising?

Is all advertising bad? No, some advertisements are creative, funny, and give a product visibility, which is fine. But, when advertisements withhold information or make claims that are untrue, then I think that’s bad.


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