Advertising is too Deceptive Advertising is too deceptive. Advertising, as we know it today, has grown exponentially since its inception, when it was primarily used as a medium to advertise products or services. Marketers quickly realised, however, the potential power that advertising holds over consumers, resulting in a multi billion rand global industry. As consumers, we cannot get away from it; it gets pushed in our faces on a consistent basis, ranging from simple flyers to large format billboards and electronic or broadcast media formats. Although this, in itself, may not be the problem, as we all like to know what products and services are available, the core issue may actually be in the way the material is presented to us. Advertising, although required to be truthful, can be presented in a very misleading way. The language that advertisers use has been tuned to a fine art; including words or phrases that are specifically chosen in adverts to invoke a certain emotion from the consumer. Some of this word’s sole purpose is to grab our attention, reel us in and then ensure that we get hooked.
Among the most commonly used words, such as: discounted, slashed and sale, have become part of our daily vocabulary and although we are used to seeing it, we still cannot help but pay attention to it. In addition, certain claims from manufacturers cannot be substantiated or tested and are specifically chosen or presented to consumers in a specified t way. What follows are some examples of these claims. The “unfinished claim” is one in which the ad claims the product is better, or has more of something, but does not finish the comparison. And example of this “Magnapax gives you more! more what? The rhetorical question is another advertiser favourite; here the advertiser will ask a question like “shouldn’t your family drink Clearspring orange juice? ” and finally, the “Water is wet claim”. While this claim may say something about the product that is true for any brand in that product category, the claim is usually a statement of fact and not a real advantage over the competition. For example, “Simon’s beer is natural” but so is all other beer made from barley and hobs. There are many other claims like these that we can discuss, but these are the most obvious.
Presentation of adverts has also changed; more specifically, advertisers now advertise to specific markets and present their goods in such a way that the consumer makes an immediate association with them. Glossy adverts with the word “Reduced” on the cover or, alternatively, a misleadingly low amount associated with an item in a picture might capture your attention, but on closer examination, the consumer may realize that the amount shown is either the discount amount or merely the required deposit for the item rather than the full purchase price.
In a similar vein, a service or company may include a picture of a high rise building on their advert creative not, as the consumer may assume, that it is their headquarters, but the illusion of success is implied and the association enforced. Finally, the latest innovation used by marketers to get consumers to part with their money involves the use of celebrity endorsements and even, in some cases, direct representation of a product by well known personality. We all want to be associated with someone famous, and the easiest way to do this is to own something a celebrity has endorsed, either directly or indirectly, feeding our need to own something “supposedly” owned and used by an admired celebrity or public personality.. This tactic is referred to as the “celebrity claim”. A celebrity or authority figure appears in an ad to lend his or her stellar qualities to the product. Sometimes the people will actually claim to use the product, but in reality, they very often do not..
This has become so endemic that there are agencies, representing celebrity clients for the sole purpose of providing advertising products with testimonials. Advertisers have studied us, the consumers, and know our basic needs, from wanting to make our lives easier, to keeping up with the Joneses next door, and they will do everything in their power to ensure they keep our attention long enough to convince us to buy the product, whether we actually need or not .