Wow! Imagine my surprise as I was doing keyword research for my blog and saw the phrase, ” is advertising fundamentally deceptive” pop up. What a question!!!
I hope that this question rising to the top of the search queries is merely the result of school being back in session and students being assigned this topic – however, it does bring up a good point.
Does advertising need to be deceptive to be effective?
If you’re thinking of pursuing marketing with deception in mind, pay attention to what Jerry Della Famina once said,
“There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster.”
Advertising that is fundamentally deceptive will ultimately do more harm than good for the business which is engaging in deception – especially in a world where Web 2.0 is giving such a powerful voice to the consumer.
Your marketing and advertising are, by nature, setting prospective customer’s expectations. When expectations are unrealistic, unhappy customers are the result. Remember, the entire purpose of your advertising is to create customers for your business.
If you engage in fundamentally deceptive advertising, you may see a temporary “bump” in sales but in the long run, you’ll be setting your business up for failure. Customers with unrealistic expectations become cranky. One hundred years ago, if you created a base of customers with unmet unrealistic expectations, you just made sure to not pull your wagon into that town again. In the age of Web 2.0, when you create a base of customers with unmet unrealistic expectations, you’ll find them trashing your name all over the internet. (Read What Every Business Owner Needs to Know about Web 2.0) Before you know it, you have no where to hide.
Will Rogers once said,
“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”
I don’t agree. Advertising is most effective when it’s used to let people know that there are solutions to their problems.
For example, if you’re in need of a new television, then the ad being run by the local appliance dealer is not an intrusion but a welcomed messenger. “Hey, I can save $200 on that television I was planning on purchasing!”
Effective advertising is, by nature, not deceptive at all. Effective advertising is merely the act of letting people know about the goods and services you have to offer. Lying in order to get the sale only sets you up for failure in the long run.