Lying in advertising

Some people just don’t get that fibbing in advertising is an awful idea.

An Internet ad popped up on my screen this morning disguised as an error alert message. When I saw the ad, I was shocked, not by the ad itself because this type of ad isn’t new. In fact, it’s been floating out on the web for about ten years now. What shocked me was that there are companies that still use this bait-and-switch form of advertising.

My department leader and I encountered a bait-and-switch method of a different kind when we went looking at a house he was thinking of buying. The house was pictured in a magazine but, when we drove to the address given, we noticed some glaring differences. While the house itself looked the same, the land around it did not. The real estate agent had obviously paid someone to edit the photo to remove the cattle fencing around the property and remove the huge, slopping hill in the front yard.

Why do this; why would you lie to potential customers? I understand you feel the need to get people to your website and feet to the property you sell but don’t lie to get them there. If you do, you’re telling your potential customer that you’re willing to lie. They’ll then wonder what else you’re willing to lie about including the benefits of your service, the effectiveness of your product, your willingness to price match, etc. Don’t forget, these people have friends and they’ll tell them of your deceptive tricks.

The problem is that you’re thinking only two feet out in front of you while you should be thinking a hundred feet. Do you think my department leader looked at any more houses listed in that magazine? He did not. Do you think that I will go to the company that displayed the error alert ad when I need anti-virus software? I will not.

Why would we do business with a liar?


7 Responses to “Lying in advertising”

  1. 1 Katie Cummings July 10, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Lying in advertising, whether it is blatant or by commission, has got to be one of the dumbest thing you can do if you’re trying to persuade someone to buy from you. In order for a reader or visitor to be sold on an idea, they have to trust that you are not selling them a load of crap and most importantly, that they are getting what they think they are. Like you said, they have friends.


  2. 2 Michael July 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for commenting Katie!

    When will these companies realize that they are deterring business instead of generating business?

  3. 3 marcus1234 August 12, 2007 at 8:11 am

    The problem seems to be that there are enough people either too lazy or too ignorant to do anything about it. Personally, when I come across this sort of thing, I add them to my ever-growing list of people I would never buy anything from. It’s a big list. I have a similar blog her also:

    If you have any people you’d like me to add to the site let me know. It’s a fairly new site, so not much yet, but it will grow.


  4. 4 Henry Martin April 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I have to disagree. Lying is effective and makes people and companies rich. Take just the latest example overwhelming the internet by storm: Apple’s iPad. On Apple’s website it will tell you you can watch HD movies. New apps for the iPad are now called “(insert name here) HD”. The truth? iPads cannot do HD. They run a 4:3 aspect ratio and cannot show 720p. Yet people are buying them by the millions and they aren’t technically out yet.


  5. 5 Dr. Johanza Kafuhu September 12, 2012 at 3:21 am

    You also fail to realize that these people lying to you aren’t looking for real or repeat business. That anti-virus company? Their just looking to make money by hooking people in, as they can never compete with the product or services offered by others such as AVG. And that realtor is simply trying to sell that house. The odds you’re going to return to her even if you purchased that property are very small, where now she got you’re boss to drive all the way over and see that house. Evil, yes. Dirty, yes. Effective, yes.

  6. 6 Anchor3 December 25, 2012 at 11:23 am

    You could certainly see your expertise within the work you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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