Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Five Advertising Lies
Free with Purchase
One man I had the opportunity to work for in my broadcasting career was Jim Graham. Jim was an early television veteran, “working his way up,” with the Dumont Network. He died several years ago and wasn't a pleasant man to work for. He had some steadfast rules when it came to advertising and the local community had a difficult time adjusting to them. He would never allow any advertising to run on the radio stations he managed offering: “Free with purchase.” He believed that if you have to pay money (buy something ) to get something for free, then that item is not free. So that would be false advertising. I agree and still do. It's only free if that person offering it will give it to you at no charge just for the asking. The proper phrasing would be “offered at no additional charge.” BOGO is an incarnation of this lie. Buy one, get one is only a lie if you add the word free. If you simply modify that buy saying “at no additional charge,” it's perfectly OK to do. But, the advertisers seldom do.
Nine tenths of a cent does not equal a penny. The gasoline industry has been doing this since the 1920s. It's rounded off anyway when you reach the register or pay at the pump. So it is one big lie. To make you think that $3.49 9/10 is not really $3.50. Show me how I can pay you 9/10 of a cent and I'll retract this.
Buzz words that mean nothing. They might as well be lies like: Super, King Size, Improved, Deluxe, Economy, Lite, Zesty and on and on. What did you do to the product to make it “New and Improved?” Why is it now a “deluxe” package? What makes it a “king size” or a “fun size” for that matter?” Please tell me how a beer or carbonated beverage can be “crisp.”
Offer ends soon order before midnight tonight. If you believe that lie, I have bridge that I'll sell you in the Mohave Desert. Never mind. The London Bridge is there at Lake Havasu City and is not for sale.
Wait a minute. It's not a gratuity if you add it as a charge. If I feel like be gratuitous or that your service is worthy of an extra cash bonus, then that's my choice, not your mandate. I will decide how much, thank you.