Most of us have access to the internet nowadays, making it easier for companies to advertise their products like never before. Not all people pay attention to advertisements, however, and even think of them as nuisance because we think we can easily tune them out. That is not how it works at all.
What should you do to protect yourself from advertisements, especially those that send out false information?
Read all relevant information
If you are looking for a specific product, you need to research. Some advertisements do not provide everything or construct the message to make it more attractive to customers. After all, the goal is to sell the products or services. Before any purchase, read all relevant information especially the offers that seem significant in the advertisement.
Remember that legit ads should be clear
You could easily spot suspicious ads even if you have no background in advertising and marketing. Offers and conditions must be included in the advertisement clearly and concisely. If it is an ad on the internet, it should provide relevant links to the site to give the customers more information. If it takes you a while to get the information you need (e.g., you need to click various pages), then stay away from it.
Check prices carefully
Be wary of ads that post prices with asterisks beside it. Maybe that is not the full price for the product or service. You might have to pay separately for other charges like VAT, delivery, booking, etc. Before finalizing any online purchase for example, you should check the additional charges at the bottom of the ad or the page (usually in small font size) to avoid surprises. This is mostly a problem with online purchases and ticket providers.
Don’t believe exaggerations
Presentation is everything when it comes to ads. They need to stand out among competitors which is why they will exaggerate features or capabilities of their products and services. It does not necessarily mean they are misleading the customers, but you should not take things literally.
Read the small texts
Some ads like posters have extra text somewhere that most people don’t read. Usually, these contain important information that must be included but the company is hesitant to include because it can contradict the claims of the ad. You will see this more commonly when products are advertising marked down prices. There is usually a text somewhere that says, “on selected items only.”
Don’t fall for “going green” tactics
This is a common tactic to attract customers by appealing to guilt. It is so easy to post “recycled” or “environmentally friendly” then add some trees and endangered animals on the ad. But claims like these are usually untrue. Sure, the company may be taking steps to reduce waste and source sustainably but there are other aspects not shown on the ad such as packing, transportation, labor, etc. which might still be problematic.
17 Jun 2020