Sunday, September 17, 2017

Advertisements You Cannot Trust

Honestly, could you ever trust an advertisement?

Maybe you could. (Put the emphasis wherever you please, if reading aloud.) Perhaps today's consumer of advertisements is less critical and more credulous.

GEICO spoofs medical advertising rather well... maybe too well. I had to look up "gassy girl" to remind myself what is really being advertised.

Can one believe the bottom line? Or is it an example of misdirection? That is,  "Look how tricky those medical advertisements and claims are. We're telling you that they are bad, so we must be accurate in our own claims..."

(This, by the way, passes for a review or commentary on advertisements IMHO.)

While searching for my all-time favorite advertisement (featuring a hunk on a bicycle), I came across this about lies advertisements tell you.
Apparently, calling bad breath "halitosis" makes it sound more serious.

Perhaps acronyms have the same effect. A lot of marketing companies, very seriously, tell you the initials of your complaint. Like "body odor" becomes a far more urgent problem if you learn that it is also called "B.O."

A new wrinkle in the law is that Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) lawsuits may now be aimed at the advertising agencies that create deceptive advertisements, where those adverts are not (not) based on claims made to them for their use by the product manufacturer.

Legal blogger John C Greiner for Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP writes about an extended format for an advertisement that--I infer-- was not recognizable as an infomercial, and in which a medical doctor is alleged to have used his status as a medical doctor to recommend a product that he allegedly never studied (or never studied more critically than the alleged script that he was allegedly paid to repeat.)

Read more at:

Don't be thrown by "Pepe The Frog". The advertising article is there.

There is also commentary at analysed by David O. Klein of Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

Authors are their own "product manufacturers" and their own "marketers". Usually. Some have a publicist.

Authors advertise. They can buy "keywords" such as the names of more famous authors, to suggest that their books might appeal to fans of the more famous authors. If I wanted to do so, I could add "labels" to this passage of prose such as "bad breath", "flatulence", "body odor", "irritable bowels", "aliens"... ( I am not doing so, but in the interests of science, if you were lured here by the appearance of those free "key" words, please leave a polite comment about how and why you were misdirected here).

I'm not sure that the FTC is at all likely to take an interest in literature, or in the honest marketing of it. However, if you will pardon the pun, it's always good to know which way the wind blows.

On that happy note....

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

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