Dishonesty in Advertising: A little bit goes a long way

Just one example of misleading advertising...

An ad playing on one of the gym’s TV monitors caught my eye during an early morning run the other day. Not “caught my eye” in a good way. It was the kind of misleading ad that makes a bad name for those involved in creating advertisements, or anything even remotely related to the field of marketing.

The ad in question was for a casino in the area. In the 30-seconds of airtime, the ad must have shown at least six or seven folks hitting it big. I’m talking jump out of your seat, wave your hands in the air kind of jackpots. And it makes you wonder, why would you want to deliberately create such a misleading ad?

Now, it should be said that the majority of TV viewers realize the absurdity of such advertising. Casinos are in the business of making money, and handing out jackpots to each guest is not a good way to go about doing so. Yet, such ads continue to proliferate tv screens, magazines, newspapers, radios, etc every single day.

Dan & Chip Heath, authors of the book Made to Stick and columnists in the always interesting Fast Company magazine, note a similar trend in this recent article. Definitely worth the read.

It Pays to Be Honest

This casino spot is just one example on a nearly endless list of advertisements that don’t mind bending the truth. Unfortunately, such ads have become commonplace, even expected among consumers. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to create an effective ad without being misleading; honesty in your advertising is actually good for business.

For example, this ad used some great shots of several friends enjoying themselves over some delicious looking food. Why not focus more on the social benefit of a night out with friends? And, sure, worked into the mix could be a shot of someone winning big (but not several jackpots crammed into the brief 30-second spot).

Addressing deliberately misleading advertisements starts with the approach we take with every client. As the Heaths put it in their article (linked above), “It’s time for the marketing community itself to be the first to turn up its nose at people who shamelessly use these techniques.”

So use those creative juices. Come up with a catchy slogan. Highlight the client in a way that makes people want to know more. But don’t lie to the consumer. Why? Because, your mother was right. Lying is bad. And, when it comes to advertising, it’s just lazy.

Your customers deserve better, and they’ll thank you for your honesty with their business.


~ by Ryan on August 15, 2008.

2 Responses to “Dishonesty in Advertising: A little bit goes a long way”

  1. […] ads take two: it’ll cost you We’ve talked previously about misleading ads, and what a great way it is to lose consumer confidence in your company and product, but a recent […]

  2. Hi , where did you get the top image from? I need to use it and I need a permission source. Any help will be appreciated. thanks

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