Consumers need to be protected from companies that make deceptive claims in their advertising. However, companies should always be allowed to make truthful claims, even if those claims could be misunderstood by some consumers.
The author says that, consumers should be protected from deceptive claims, whereas truthful claims that are misleading could very well be allowed. The prospect of such an advertisement is rather intriguing. The supporters of this idea might regard saying the information conveyed cannot depend on how the receiver understands it. But, this idea would practically prove to be Pandora’s Box for the companies that broadcast misleading advertisements for the following reasons discussed below.
Firstly, it is possible that a company could make a truthful claim which is misunderstood by consumers leading to dissatisfaction among the consumers. For example, a tooth paste manufacturing company advertises that their toothpaste has highest quantity of salt in it. This might make people think with an assumption that quality of tooth paste is proportional to the quantity of salt content in it. Hence, this somehow creates customers to the company, who might be potential customers for a company that is manufacturing by far better products. As time rolls on, consumers realize the product with deceiving advertisement and tend to develop aversion towards that brand. In my view, the pitfalls of such advertisements that inadvertently induces a false sense of quality among customers, by far overweigh the potential advantages.
Secondly, it is possible to manipulate the truthful information which might be of no use, to seemingly appear very much useful. Also, an opportunity gained by a company through misdeeds is an opportunity lost to another company. Hence, in a free economy, such advertisements might misdirect people, leading to an abyss in the industry. Hence, there needs to be a panel that reviews every advertisement before it is broadcasted.
In sum, the author provides feeble rationale in allowing companies to make misleading claims while advertising. The thin line that differentiates between truthful but misleading claims and proper claims should be taken care.
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"Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value."