Marsel Gray | Staff Writer
Anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia and thought watching late night television would cure it has seen those outrageous commercials promising this or that, usually for the amount of $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). Are these, and other marketing tactics, truthful?
Do the businesses that produce these commercials practice fair advertising ethics? And what about the customers that buy them? Do they have a responsibility to do research on products and report false advertising?
Businesses have a responsibility to their customers. The responsibility does not just include adequate pricing and honesty, but fair targeting of the audience and truthful marketing.
Companies have a responsibility to their various markets; not all businesses cater to the same individuals. A frequently criticized aspect of the marketing world is businesses lie to and manipulate elderly and young people. Elderly people often are the target of financial exploitation because of their wealth accumulation.
Ads that target the elderly promise to benefit the family members once they pass. Children and young people are the target of unhealthy food, entertainment and fashion.
These ads promise the ability to become cool and sexy as long as they eat this, listen and watch this or wear these clothes. If there is one marketable substance that sells, it’s sex. Sex appeal is used all the time in almost every facet. Everything from food and cars to fitness and clothing overflows with sex appeal.
The sad part is sex does indeed sell well. Companies make loads of money off people’s needs and wants. Fitness based businesses are excellent at scheming hundreds of people into buying into their fake promises of a better body, increased energy and a better sex life. But businesses aren’t the only ones to blame.
Customers, too, have a responsibility. By now, many people should know that many of these ads are manipulative lies. They are nothing more than schemes designed to draw you in and rob you dry. People need to realize that new sport cars or buying into the newest fitness craze will not make people like them more sexy or increase their sex appeal. Yet, consumers have a major weapon.
One major advantage of today’s technologically connected world is the speed and usefulness of the Internet. Customers have the ability to rate, discuss and give their opinions on their experiences with various products.
For example, many websites like Amazon have a rating system and comments left by past customers of a product to view for potential future customers. I have used Amazon several times when thinking about buying something.
The next time you see a flashy ad promising instant money or a better body, think of whether the business is actually going to help you achieve your goals or take your money. TAS