Due to advancements in technology, the way people spread and receive information has changed. Before modern times, it was through word of mouth, newspapers, or radios. Today, people post pictures, captions or hashtags of their new product or business and it can go viral in minutes. This may seem effective and appealing, but there is a catch. The problem with the efficiency of technology is that false information can spread quickly.
Advertisements are an eye-catching and effective way of spreading information in seconds. Today, ads have moved beyond television and into our tablets, laptops and phones. Because social media is powerful and addictive, most people see hundreds of ads and banners on web pages every day. Companies and businesses know the majority of young people go on social media constantly and they use this intel to spread product awareness.
Bright, colorful slogans and images are used to lure our attention for a few seconds. We’re exposed to so many advertisements and brands every day that we can’t always tell apart the ones that are sending false or accurate information.
On the Federal Trade Commission website, a government agency that protects consumers, it states that they “look especially closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks – claims about food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and tobacco and on conduct related to high-tech products and the Internet.”
But how well is the FTC able to protect us from false advertising? There are millions of commercials and advertisements surrounding beauty. We see beautiful, young models trying makeup and hair products, and this persuades us to buy the product to look as beautiful as the models. There is pressure all over the world by society, for both men and women, to look beautiful all the time. It can lead people to believe makeup will solve their problems.
Jo Swinson, a British member of parliament, wrote an article featured on CNN titled “False beauty in advertising and the pressure to look 'good.’” In it, she discussed her decision to bring Lancome ads for foundation makeup featuring Julia Roberts to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority, which banned them for being misleading. Brands that falsely advertise should reflect on how they present their products, food, or business and how it impacts consumers.
However, not all companies falsely advertise. To be truthful to their customers, both business owners and ad agencies properly test the product before putting together commercials. Matt Duerr, an account supervisor at MullenLowe, works with upcoming businesses and meets with clients every day who need assistance in promoting their business or brand. Duerr says that when he works with businesses, he and his co-workers make sure their client is able to substantiate the claim they will make in the commercial. “We have always made sure that a product is properly tested before we move into production,” he says. MullenLowe and businesses collaborate together throughout the entire process to assure customers will be happy with the finished product.
A way to know whether an advertisement is false or false is to educate ourselves on how businesses and companies attract consumers. In a time where avoiding advertisements is impossible, honesty by brands is more important now than ever.