The Importance of Truthful Advertising
Posted on June 15, 2012 by Lola Rotimi-Sosanya
When marketing your business, it is important to always be truthful. Not only will false advertising lose the faith of your patrons, but it will also cause possible government repercussions. The Federal Trade Commission is a government organization that enforces advertising laws and regulations, making sure that all businesses practice ethical advertising. The Federal Trade Commission Act has various requirements stating that all advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive, must be supported by evidence, and cannot be unfair. These rules regulate the quality of advertisements and protect consumers from false claims.
The Skechers fiasco of 2012 is a prime example of a dishonest advertisement that ruined the sale of the product and sullied the reputation of the business. When Skechers announced that their new Shape Up tennis shoes would tone customers just by walking, thousands of women rushed to buy the shoes in hopes of morphing into Skechers’ spokespeople Brooke Burke and Kim Kardashian. The shoes, costing roughly $100, promised weight loss and an increase in musculature that would miraculously appear by simply walking in the shoes. However, these shoes did not provide the dramatic effect that was depicted in the advertising campaign. Because of the disconnect between the information provided in the advertisements and the actual effect that the product had, many customers felt cheated and lied to. Because of a dishonest marketing strategy. Skechers had to pay the federal government $40 million in damages. As demonstrated by this failure, it is always easier to be truthful when designing an advertising campaign.
To ensure that your business does not have a similar problem, be truthful and be ethical in all of your marketing endeavors. Be honest about the product. No matter what you purport your product to be, customers will find out what it actually is when they purchase it. One of the most important things for a business to have is a loyal customer following. Do not betray their trust with false marketing strategies. Also, brand your business by providing a product that fits a specific niche, such as the cheapest, best quality, or most creative type of product on the market. If the advertising is a consistent and truthful portrayal of the product, consumers will be more likely to become loyal followers. However, if the advertising creates an incorrect view of the product and tries to deceive the consumer, the business will not retain profitability.