The first chapter in my highly successful Marketing Without Advertising (co-author Salli Rasberry) is about the public distrust of advertising. I give many examples of misleading or openly dishonest advertising. The examples show that the public distrust of advertising is warranted.
I was contemplating the issue as I started working on the 7th edition of the book. I started paying attention to advertising, something I find easy to avoid. Turns out there is no real decline in false advertising.
Here is the headline of a recent ad: "Increase your home's value and comfort". I don’t remember whether this was for new windows, new doors or paving stones. I do know that in the area where I live most houses sell for $800K to $1.5 million. A new kitchen or new bathroom can raise the sale price by $10K but little else has an effect and little else will pay for itself. False advertising? Just wrong advertising.
Every evening on TV I am treated to a half dozen ads for face creams that will remove wrinkles. Maybe for a few hours or a day. But the implication is that these products will remove wrinkles for long periods. False advertising.
Then there are the classic snake oil proposals. Nutritional supplements are offered everywhere with promises to improve vision, generate more energy and fix a dozen maladies. They don’t; as publicly announced by the CDC after decades of reliable studies.
What is this blog about? Just that some advertising has returned to its old ways. Deception. Which colors the general public view of all advertising.
I can find plenty of new material for the first chapter of Marketing Without Advertising.
If you wonder about the elephant in the room, Google, which has captured more than half of the global ad budgets; stop wondering.
Google was built on my book which was published in 1984 and been revised regularly ever since. The book makes clear that ‘advertising’ is shotgun bluster, much like dog poo on the sidewalk that everyone has to step over. The people Google is talking to are looking for a product or information. It is therefore a ‘listing’ like the directory in a building lobby, like the old Yellow pages, or like a restaurant menu. Big difference between a shotgun to the public and a ‘listing’ where individuals are looking for something.
Few people have noticed this even to this day. Out of billions of people.