The Truth in Advertising

“WE SELL STEEPED TEA!” They make this sound as if it’s something special. Steeping is simply the process in which you turn water into tea. (Now if they could turn that water into wine . . .)  Or the commercial about how they sell beef that has been ‘grass fed’. What do you think they’ve been eating?

Advertisers understand that if you say something loud enough and with enough enthusiasm you can get a lot of people excited about it. Even if they don’t know what it is. And who can remember the jingles from your childhood about food? I remember more than I like to admit to. It’s the jingles that get people excited. And excited people buy stuff.  There are some truly amazing commercials out there that are touching and poignant and memorable. The polar bears, the Clydesdale horses, the puppy dog lost in the rain. You don’t forget these commercials.

“POP-A-MATIC POP A DICE!  POP A SIX AND YOU MOVE TWICE! I don’t remember the game but I can’t stop thinking about the jingle. Or how about:  “MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME . . .” That’s how I learn to spell bologna!  I don’t hear many jingles anymore, at least not memorable ones. Commercials nowadays seem to be loud and annoying. And like so many people, I tape everything so I can fast forward through the commercials. I remember when I enjoyed the commercials, I was curious and entertained. But maybe the world has changed and it’s not quite so kind anymore.

I understand the job of an advertiser is to sell things. Hopefully in ways that are not illegal, immoral or unethical. That doesn’t say anything about telling the truth. But one can lie without actually doing so. It’s called obfuscation. I like this one a lot. Let me give you an example. A friend goes to a high price hairdresser to have her haircut for the first time. She spends 30 minutes in consultation before the scissors are even approached. Two hours later she comes out and is absolutely thrilled with her new do! And she asks you the inevitable… “What do you think?” Now do you tell her the truth: that her hair looks like it’s been cut by an eight-year-old on crack cocaine who has a twitching problem? Or do you obfuscate? “Wow”!  That could be a good wow or a could be an OMG wow. She’s not gonna know. Then you could say something like: “That’s a new look for you!” It’s all in the delivery and you have to sell it. This woman is happy with her hair, why would I want to change that. It may not be my taste but I’m not the important one here, she is.

To advertisers the buyers are not the important ones.  The clients that are selling the product, they are the ones that matter. They are the ones signing the cheques. So, we have that old adage: BUYER BEWARE! And that warning seems to apply to everything these days. Don’t take anything at face value and assume somebody’s trying to get something from you. What does that say about us?

 

40 thoughts on “The Truth in Advertising

  1. beth

    just take it all for what it is, i used to work in advertising, promoting movies, and know that things are not always as great as they may sound. we have to use our own minds and take it with a grain of salt, as it may not be as exciting as it sounds. great point –

    Liked by 2 people

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  2. barbtaub

    There’s a story (possibly apocryphal) about an ad agency hired to promote a brand of canned white tuna, which didn’t sell as well as the more popular pink tuna. After some thought, they recommended the sellers add to the label, “Guaranteed not to turn pink in can.”

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    1. quiall Post author

      Dijon mustard and mayo… Actually sounds quite good. I’ve never seen it. Maybe that tells me something. I will try it! I tried Nutella because of a commercial. I know thousands of people love it but I’m not one of them.

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      1. Dan Antion

        At the time, I was taking sandwiches to work for lunch. My wife was mixing Dijon mustard and Mayo – when I said I wanted to try this, she was like “but that’s what I’m doing.” Then I started singing the jingle.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Murphy’s Law

    Very interesting post Pam. I can remember when the TV ads were better than the programs. There were a lot of ads I looked forward to watching. No, I didn’t buy the product, I just appreciated the creativity of the ad….like “Hump Day”! Remember Dinah Shore singing, “ See the USA in your Chevrolet’?

    Today the programs and the ads are horrific as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think there’s any truth in advertising, just the ability of some sellers to gloss over what they don’t want you to know about their product.

    “Buyer Beware” equals “Use Your Common Sense”! It’s a no-brainer. Unfortunately some of us don’t use our brains. In our house we mute the ads! I don’t need to hear about a product that will deodorize all my private nooks and crannies or one that will guarantee me normal BM’s! Sheeesh!
    Ginger

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  4. dweezer19

    OMG Pam I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Nutella. And I LOVE chocolate! When I have said it out loud, it’s like everything comes to a halt and they all stare at me in disbelief, like the while world has come to screeching halt. I agree about advertising. There is little beyond the initial exposure to a product that inspires me to run out and by it. I loved the days of “Get Mikey to try it…he’ll eat anything.” And how cool was Mr Clean? Now that got my attention. Or reality like “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh what a relief it is.”? Now that was truth in advertising. I feel like all commercials these days are aimed t making someone else look stupid or feel small and all too often it is the adults in the piece. Much like social media has become. I just want to know who is raising these brilliant kids to be so much smarter than the stupid people they live with. 🤔Gimme a good Folger’s commercial for the holidays or Tony the Tiger touting Frosted Flakes. 😏

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  5. joylennick

    Oh, that is so true Pamela, and very amusing. So many adverts on TV nowadays are totally inane and annoying. ‘The truth’ is a sick joke, wrapped in goodness knows what rubbish for human consumption. There’s one on British TV at present about the passion which chewing gum gives rise to???? I ask you? Less is more in my book, so why do a multitude of people have to advertise one innocuous product? Hey ho. I’m all for the quiet, reflective ads any day or the quick and kooky ones l

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. quiall Post author

      You are making me sentimental for the all the old commercials! Those were good times. Now I really don’t understand what they’re trying to do because all people tell me is they are offended.

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  6. Mark Lanesbury

    Oh no Pam! You mean those beautiful, loving ads on chocolate, those ones where love hearts float everywhere, looking deeply into each others eyes etc… WON”T let you meet the love of your life…it’s a lie…deception to buy their chocolate only? 😂 🤣

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    1. Mark Lanesbury

      And speaking of buying great products, many years ago I rushed out to buy this great new chocolate spread and try it. As I was eating scoffing the sandwich with this spread on it a piece broke off and fell on the ground…the ants refused to touch it…you know, this great, new, natural product. I was gobsmacked and threw it in the bin. I now take all food out to an ants nest first before I’ll touch it 😂 🤣

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  7. Garfield Hug

    Haha! I laughed at your description of her haircut. Once upon a time I paid alot for a haircut till K Cuts or Q B House came up with $10 cuts and outcomes were the same. Despite it going up to $12 ovee the years, it is still cheaper than a designer cut which was basically paying for advertisement and the shop rental as end result is no different.

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  8. bikerchick57

    A friend of mine laughed over “grass-fed beef” a few years ago when we were talking about my organic eating habits. She said as a child in Iowa, poor farmers grass fed their beef because they couldn’t afford the feed at the mill. I don’t buy too much organic beef because it’s hugely expensive these days, but I think of her comments now every time I see “grass-fed” on a package.

    I miss the jingles too. Some of the commercials now are just full of bologna. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Dale

    I believe that game was “Trouble” and I am not a fan of Nutella, either 😉
    As for the jingles, they just don’t make them anymore. I used to love “Double your pleasure with Doublemint gum” with all those twins! I believe commercials were more honest back when they took the time to create a jingle or a catch phrase that you found yourself humming or quoting. Now? They really don’t entice me much. I did used to have Telus and I think all their animals are so darn cute…but they turned out to be rather expensive!

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. rangewriter

        Well, since I don’t believe chocolate contains gluten, unless it’s wrapped around or cooked inside a cookie…I imagine it would taste just fine. This goes for dog food, too. Do you suppose dogs care if there’s gloten in their food?

        Liked by 2 people

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