11 October 2009

False Advertising

I was already drafting this blog article in my head when I came across a link to this article on Twitter.  Apparently, I'm not the only who's noticed that misleading and false advertising has become par for the course in American marketing.

About a year ago, I posted an article challenging Dove's claim that soap leaves soap scum on your skin; you'll find that here.  Soap doesn't leave soap scum behind; it leaves glycerin, a humectant which draws moisture from the air to your skin, moisturizing your skin with water as God intended.  Since posting that blog article, I've seen that commercial a few more times, and on the screen shot where they're telling you about this horrible "soap scum," at the bottom of the screen in little white letters it reads, "Artist's dramatization."  Let's break that down.  One, it's not like they've taken a black light or infrared light to a woman fresh out of the shower after she's washed with soap to show what's left.  Nope, a graphic design artist likely went in with a mouse and a bit of imagination and drew the "soap scum" in.  Dramatization - it's FAKE, people!  Drama, whether it's on stage, screen or in the mind of your average teenage girl, is never as real as it's purported to be.

Thursday night I was watching my usual crime dramas (see, again, made up) and caught this commercial for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - you know the one that starts out "Meet the Buttertons."  The hype behind this commercial is that real butter is loaded with trans fat.  We keep butter in our fridge; it's healthier than margarine and we prefer natural to nearly plastic.  Yesterday morning, I was in the fridge for something and looked at the butter box.  Zero grams of trans fats.  Of course, butter has saturated fats; all fats that are solid at room temperature are high in saturated fats - lard, shortening, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine.  However, our butter doesn't have any trans fat whatsoever.  Again, you have a reputable company using deception to push their products.  And how many people would catch it?  Susie Homemaker who's trying to prepare healthy meals for her family is just going to buy the tub spread (we have that in our fridge, too) and will never look at the nutrition facts on the box of butter.

In the cosmetic industry, such deceptions come when someone claims their tea tree soap will cure everything from athlete's foot to psoriasis to the flu.  Or when a soapmaker states that the vitamin E in their lotion will make the user look younger.  All that's lies and hype to get you to buy their products.  Thankfully, those seem to be few and far between, but loudly vocal.  The majority of soapmakers will tell you what our products will do.  Our soaps will get you clean.  They'll likely leave your skin feeling softer and more supple.  Our soaps may even leave you smelling good.  Our soaps will not make you look younger, replace the hair you've lost, melt away unwanted belly fat or cure what ails you (other than general griminess).

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