Uncovering the Truth in Advertising

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The truth in advertising is divisive, both in academia and in the business world, where it is surrounded by magnificent, brilliant, and astonishing visuals that reflect the genuine story behind a certain brand. Many critics from various multibillion-dollar businesses throughout the world feel that most factual statements found in most ads nowadays are untrue and that just a few commercials contain factual assertions that cannot be substantiated. As a result, advertising’s image has been tarnished by dishonesty.

Though we all know that advertising is a part of marketing and that the “Art of Selling” is its universal definition, it is also widely assumed that marketing’s main approach is to connect with customers about a certain brand. Advertising is largely a communication tool in our society’s economic framework, and not only a technique of transmitting product information.

For decades, advertising practice has been the target of credibility critiques due to concerns of trustworthiness and the fact that they aim to sell using deceptive yet meticulous material. Advertising’s social standing, according to critics, would improve if it was more truthful. Consumers are significantly impacted by advertising in their everyday decision-making process, from mainstream media such as television, radio, newspaper, and magazine to numerous social media platforms today (i.e., YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Linked-In, and more).

According to Gammon (2014) in a YouGov America analysis, several conventional advertising methods such as comparison advertising, scientific endorsements, and award claims may be ineffective and raise customer concerns. Although 16 percent say people are more inclined to accept an advertising claim that contains a scientist or expert’s testimonial, that expert makes 29 percent less likely to believe in an ad. Ads that make comparisons to brand competitors are more likely to be believed by 15% but less likely to be trusted by 26%.

 

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Statista (2021), on the other hand, emphasized this year’s poll, which was conducted among individuals in the United States and assessed their view of advertising. Consequently, just 46 percent of respondents felt TV and print advertisements were somewhat or very trustworthy, while 45 percent said radio advertisements were somewhat or very trustworthy

 

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Rhetorical Theory and the Visual Symbol help explain this phenomenon. Rhetoric is an interpretative theory that frames communication as an attempt to persuade an audience by an interested party. This concept emphasizes the need forthe advertising to be inherently true, even though it often suffers from an untruthful image and falsehoods. This may be linked to a lack of commitment on the part of advertising and, more importantly, their clients, whose primary goal is to profit from best practices and customer behaviour.

“In making purchasing decisions, clients are fundamentally impacted by three variables,” said Philip Kotler, the Father of Modern Marketing.
1. Marketing communications in different media, such as television advertisements, print ads, and public relations, affect them.
2. The opinions of their friends and family influence them.
3. Personal knowledge and opinions about certain products based on previous experiences.

There has never been a more critical time in our company, organizations, and society to employ and benefit from “ethical principles” in the advertising profession. As a brand communication strategy, ethical advertising is a tactical approach that entails doing the right thing, being honest about what you’re advertising, championing strong consumer relationships, and staying true to your brand purpose, which connects to the organization’s shared values, and delivering those product truths.

This viewpoint is consistent with Dr Philip Kotler’s observation that “marketing is not the art of devising ingenious methods to dispose of what you produce.” What important is the art of providing actual customer value.”

References:

Gammon, J. (2014). Truth in advertising: 50% don’t trust what they see, read and hear, retrieved on 21 November 2021 from https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2014/04/08/truth-advertising-50-dont-trust-what-they-see-read

Statista (2021). Trust in advertising according to consumers in the United States as of January 2021, by medium, 21 November 2021 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/325458/trustworthiness-common-advertising-tactics/

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