Ad Tech & Ad Ops

Everything Publishers Need to Know About Misleading Advertising

Advertising is the backbone of any consumer-oriented business. It helps drive sales and keep brands afloat. And with the rapid development of internet technology and the rise of online advertising, advertising has become more powerful than ever. But what happens if businesses go too far and stray into the realm of false advertising? Sometimes, these false ads are harmless, while at others, they can be quite damaging. 

What Is Misleading Advertising?

False or misleading advertising represents digital or traditional propaganda that uses fraudulent or deceptive information to make a consumer act differently than they would have otherwise. In other words, false advertising is propaganda that exists to compel a consumer to purchase based on incorrect or deceptive information. 

For instance, one could also consider advertising misleading if it left out vital information about a product or service. All of the above applies to various advertising and promotional mediums like magazines, catalogues, physical and digital advertisements, websites, etc

What Are Some Examples of False Advertising?

The most reliable way for consumers to protect themselves from false advertising is to learn how to recognize it and ignore it. Here are just some of the things that fall under the definition of false advertising:

Product Misrepresentation

Misrepresenting one’s product usually entails it looking different or having different qualities than stated in the ad. Brands most often misrepresent things like the product’s colour, size, and look. They may also misrepresent their product’s health benefits, give it false attributes (like environmentally friendly), or inconsistently compare it to their competitors.

Hidden Fees

This category includes any extra fees that aren’t stated in an advertisement (e.g., shipping costs) or even products with falsely inflated prices so that the sellers could advertise them as on sale.

Business Misrepresentation

Advertising one’s business by lying about its market importance or authority is a textbook example of false advertising. Brands usually achieve that by lying about their affiliation with high-profile groups or organizations to build false authority in consumers’ eyes.

Fillers

This point applies to food ads since most manufacturers use fillers like oats and brine to inflate their products’ weight. So just because the ad says a burger is 100% beef doesn’t make it true!

Misuse of the Word “Free”

Be mindful of false associations with the word “free.” All “buy one, get one for free” deals are technically false advertising since nothing is free; you still have to pay for one product.

Advertising, when used correctly, can be an effective way to promote and sell products. It can provide consumers with the information they need to make a smart shopping decision. However, false advertising is harmful to both the consumer and to the advertiser.

How to Avoid False Advertising?

Ads are designed to make you buy something, and they often won’t fret from misrepresenting what they’re promoting. That is why you should never take them at their face value and be mindful not to fall prey to one of many advertising fallacies. Always think before you act.

Getting as much information about a product before considering a purchase is essential. And you won’t get that information from an ad. That is why browsing through customer reviews or testimonials is an excellent place to start.


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