Information or Manipulation?

Meghan Chapman

Dear Reader:

World-wide media has increased numerously over the years. Anyone can say anything they want and a rumor will be spread all over the globe. Anyone can advertise an item, and it'll be known to all. False advertising is something that is a daily occurrence. Whether you're flipping through channels on the television, surfing the websites on a computer, or turning pages in a magazine, advertisements pop up with the purpose of teasing you. Most advertisements today are very manipulative. The items will appear better in the advertisment than they actually are in reality. When I was younger, I would create my Christmas list by looking through catalogs and circling whatever looked appealing to me. I'd wake up on Christmas morning with the catalog pictures in my mind, impatient and eager to see what I got. I unwrapped the first gift to find the toy that I had circled and wanted, except it was never all that I expected. Are advertisements completely informative or are they solely manipulative?
Pepsi Max - OFFICE INTERVIEW Ad [HQ version]
Espionage Verizon Workers - AT&T TV Commercial 2014
Diet Coke - Taylor Swift Kittens
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Advertisements can be a waste of time, and simply a nuisance that makes us wait until we can finally return to what we were trying to do in the first place. Do you agree? Advertisements can also be very manipulative and misleading rather than informative and positively influential. Do you agree? I believe advertisements are typically more manipulative than informative because of proven statistics, others’ experiences, and my own personal experience.

Advertising is often persuasive when it comes to convincing people to buy products that will either make one smarter or more attractive. For example, the commercials that promote the brand ‘AXE’ will often portray attractive women being lured to the man after he uses this cologne. There will also be cars being sold and attractive women standing beside the car. Although she has nothing to do with the purchase, the advertisers hope to persuade the consumer by using such tactics. Many advertisements also state facts about their product that they cannot back up, or they photograph false representations of their product, fooling and misleading consumers.

ABC News exposed the fact that Activia Yogurt falsely persuaded consumers into purchasing their yogurt, claiming that the nutritional benefits of it were clinically and scientifically proven, although their yogurt wasn’t any different from any other brand. Definity eye cream was also exposed because they had an advertisement of a 62-year-old woman who looked much younger than she was, to advertise their eye cream. It turns out, the “effects” of the eye cream were edited and retouched, false advertising. Unfortunately, these incidents of companies being unable to live up to their ads, happen very often.

I remember when all I’d see on television were the commercials advertising the new ‘Doritos Locos Tacos’ at Taco Bell. Every time I saw those tacos on my screen, I’d want to go right to Taco Bell to try this all-new item. One day I gave in and purchased a Doritos Taco. Once I got it, I came to realize that it was not what I was expecting at all; it was much worse. Situations like this seem to be arising more often than we like to admit. Most new items that are advertised tend to result in being worse than we were expecting.

I will never understand how someone can consider most advertisements these days to be more informative than manipulative. Yes, advertisements are important for companies to be able to influence, inform, and persuade consumers to buy their items. However, the advertisements need to be honest and realistic so that the consumers know exactly what they are buying and why they are paying the cost for it.

End Notes

Misleading Advertising Video: I chose this video as one of my artifacts because it clearly demonstrated and proved exactly how advertising is mislead. The video goes right along with my topic and helps one to better understand how false advertising can be effective.

Misleading Advertisements Chart: I chose to use this chart as one of my artifacts because it is a proven survey of people who also believe that media promotes many advertisements that turn out to be manipulative.

Fast Food Photo: I chose to use this photo as one of my artifacts because it is a demonstration of how advertisement is compared to reality. Advertisements almost always make their product look much more appealing than it actually is.