(When I wrote the first post, my introduction to blogging, I expected to write often. I just realized that what was stopping me was a belief that all of my posts had to be detailed, clear, and well thought out. I’m making this post with the assumption that my belief is wrong. This is a big step for me. Brevity has not, so far in my life, been my strength. .)
What has happened to “truth”? Such a simple thing, yet I can’t say enough about its huge importance.
Advertisers don’t seem to hold “truth” in as high regard as I do. There are so many examples out there, but right now, two are on my mind.
1) Crest 3D White toothpaste: “Professional Photographer”
This commercial features a woman who proudly claims ““As a professional photographer, I know how important a white smile is…”
As she says this, the fine print on the bottom of the screen reads: “Actress, not a real professional photographer.”
Are you serious, Crest? Do you not have the slightest issue with the main premise of your commercial being a lie? Isn’t the point of a commercial to convince the viewing audience that the product does what you claim it does? If you’re going to lie in the making of the commercial, how do we know you’re not also lying about the product itself?
More than that, how can you so openly mock the intelligence of your customers? Authorizing this commercial is akin to saying “these idiots will believe anything they hear. No one will read the obligatory legal stuff that’s printed so faintly at the bottom of the screen.”
Now, let’s be clear – I don’t have a problem with the premise of the commercial. It makes logical sense that a photographer would say this. It fits the industry perfectly and goes to the heart of the product’s purpose. But come on! How hard would it have been to get an actual photographer to shoot this commercial? What about, OH MY GOD!, an actress who is also a professional photographer? What a concept?
2) All Nutrisystem commercials.
This home delivery “diet” program has big celebrity spokespeople. Like every other diet plan commercial out there, they disclaim the impressive results their on-screen “clients” are boasting about with a fine-print line like “results not typical”. Garbage. Tell me what I can *typically* expect from using your product.
Nutrisystem goes even farther. They claim that their plan is “based on the proven science of the glycemic index.” Do you know what the glycemic index is? Do you believe that most people have ever heard of this? The result is that people just hear “based on the proven science……”
The truth is that the glycemic index is just that, an index of foods, categorized by carbohydrate and sugar content. There is SOOOOO much more that one needs to consider before claiming that the glycemic index is a powerful tool in weight loss. And, there are still many criticisms of the reliability of this index.
So, before you go out and claim that your product is based on a “proven” science…, make sure it’s actually proven.
Selling diets and nutrition to people requires even more truth than toothpaste. When these companies market their product to obese/fat people, their potential clients are buying HOPE. Their less-than-candid advertising risks creating a false sense of hope in people which will only lead to greater disappointment.
But the companies don’t care because for them each lie, or half-truth that is “bought” just sounds like more $$$.
Why do these 2 companies (and many others) say just about anything in their ads? Because there are tens of millions of people out there who will turn around and say “3D white toothpaste is so good that it is recommended by professional photographers” or “Nutrisystem will work! It’s scientifically proven!”
Of course, the smart ones among us will quietly laugh at this commercial, but nothing will change until we raise our voices and demand that companies be straight with us in their advertising.
Tell us the truth. And if they don’t believe the truth will make us want to buy the product, then MAKE THE PRODUCT BETTER!
(okay, so it wasn’t so brief… :))