The Deceptive Power of Advertisements

The Deceptive Power of Advertisements

Advertisement has power waiting to be harnessed.  

How Powerful Is Advertising? – The Atlantic

IN 1957 a former Collier’s magazine writer named Vance Packard published an investigative report about the American advertising industry’s efforts to maneuver consumers into buying goods they neither needed nor wanted. These machinations did not rely on slick imagery, exaggerated claims, or outright deception — tools whose use had subjected marketers and their minions on Madison Avenue to ridicule or censure since the days of P. T. Barnum. Packard’s charge was more specific and startling. Advertisers, he claimed, were using hidden symbols to goad the unconscious mind and the body under its control into the act of acquisition.

“Large-scale efforts,” he wrote, are

These “hidden persuaders,” as Packard called them in the title of his book, took several forms. Some advertising agencies were hiring trained “motivational researchers” to probe deep in the psychological recesses of the mind, and then constructing ad campaigns that exploited the ore found in those canyons of consumerism. Thus did General Foods decide in the 1950s that its photographs of multi-hued, architectural Jell-O desserts were generating inferiority complexes among women, and switch back to depictions of simple, single-layered gelatins. Other marketers were bypassing Jungian archetypes and beaming direct commands into the subconscious mind. Packard reported on an experiment that had allegedly taken place in a New Jersey movie theater in which the order to buy food, flashed at a speed faster than the eye could perceive, had provoked a “clear and otherwise unaccountable boost” in concession-stand sales.

Packard’s major source was Ernest Dichter, the director of an organization called the Institute for Motivational Research. A less-well-known but equally important source was a New York marketing consultant named James Vicary, who had claimed credit for that New Jersey movie-theater experiment.

Read More: How Powerful Is Advertising? – The Atlantic

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Avoid deceptive advertising in testimonials, endorsements – New …

The 47th Super Bowl is now behind us, and — alas — the Baltimore Ravens took home the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. As much as that reality may sting here in Patriots Nation, there can be only one Super Bowl champion.

However, the same is not true when it comes to Super Bowl advertising. There is plenty of room at the winner’s podium for advertisers able to pay the nearly $4 million price tag for 30 seconds of air time during the big game, when — for a brief, fleeting moment — viewers actually want to watch commercials.

Some of this year’s best-ranked ads followed a tried-and-true model for attracting attention: the celebrity endorsement. Oprah, the greatest taste-maker of our time, lent her support (if only via voice over) to Jeep brand vehicles in a stirring, patriotic spot, while New England native Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation” fame went on a comic romp through Best Buy.

The ads reached not only the fans rapt by the action on the field, but also viewers of network and cable news, Twitter followers and blog readers alike.

Of course, not all businesses have the resources to hire someone like Oprah or Amy Poehler to become the face (or voice) of their brand, much less on a stage as big as the Super Bowl.

Fortunately, celebrity is not an essential ingredient of an effective endorsement; very often, personalized endorsements from real customers can be an equally effective vehicle for connecting with consumers. If a customer is satisfied with a product or service, sharing her story in an advertisement should be good for business and less expensive than hiring a Hollywood star.

While the upside of endorsements can be significant, advertisers should be wary of potential hazards.

The first lies in the composition of an advertisement’s audience. Chances are good that if an advertisement is capturing the attention of consumers, it may also capture the attention of government regulators, competitors and plaintiff-side class action lawyers.

Read More: Avoid deceptive advertising in testimonials, endorsements – New …

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What’s Wrong with “Deceptive” Advertising? | SpringerLink

In this paper I present a moral account of the legal notion of deceptive advertising. I argue that no harmful consequences to the consumer need follow from a deceptive advertisement as such, and I suggest instead that one should focus on the consequences of permitting the practise of deceptive advertising on society as a whole. After a brief account of ‘deceptive advertising’, I move to discuss the role of the reasonable person standard in its definition. One interpretation of this standard is empirical, aiming to objectify the quality of misleadingness in the advertisement. I offer an alternative normative interpretation which aims to draw the line between the advertiser’s responsibility and that of the consumer, between misleading and miscomprehension. I then examine and reject several possible moral grounds for condemning and prohibiting deceptive advertising. These include: harm, in the sense of welfare, to the misled consumer; harm to competitors; and a violation or a reduction of the consumer’s autonomy. Finally, I explain how the effect of the practise of deceptive advertising on society as a whole should inform our normative line-drawing between misleading and miscomprehension, and how it provides the basis for the moral evaluation of deceptive advertising.

Read More: What’s Wrong with “Deceptive” Advertising? | SpringerLink

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The Deceptive Power of Advertisements

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