All of us, that is
In an ideal world one would expect the commandments to be addressed to advertisers instead of their victims. It is common knowledge however that, on account of not being the most scrupulous of people one could ever imagine, ad-men are not very susceptible to preaching. It’s therefore up to you, reader, to save yourself from the deception that often goes by the name of advertising. Advertising as we know it is perhaps the most cynical profession today – easily beating noteworthy competition in the form of politics, law, and medicine, the practitioners of which feel compelled to use the techniques of advertising.
Consequently, despite billions spent on ads the buyer is rarely if ever in a position to make an informed decision. In what follows are some of the ways this is achieved, and why you must never fall for them. A general strategy of occasionally using one’s brain usually suffices to deal with the different attempts to sucker you into buying unwisely.
Well it isn’t exactly subtle. ‘Heartiest Eid Mubarak from Baba Beeri’ (for example) is hardly any better than a direct appeal to buy cigarettes of that brand (perhaps worse because of the sneakiness involved). It’s definitely a blessed Eid if you oblige. ForBaba Beeri that is.
Do the following slogans sound familiar: #1 cellular service provider, trusted for 50 years, a symbol of quality since 1947? The questions that must be asked are: Sure it’s not since 1847? Trusted by whom? Number 1 according to whom, especially when the rivals also make the same claim?
Never be misled by ‘figures’ and numbers either. When an AC manufacturer promises 50% reduction in electricity bills, ask for the basis of comparison (it most certainly isn’t what you are being led to believe). When a whitening cream is advertised to be 200% more effective, or a shampoo to remove 99.9% dandruff, it’s obvious hogwash. When a conditioner becomes ‘doubly effective’ by the addition of Vitamin D or aloe vera, an ad-man somewhere is obviously trying to pull a fast one on you. Don’t let him.
III. Thou shall not follow a multitude to buy stuff
Because many people buy a company’s products is a pretty bad reason for you to buy those things as well. Yes, it’s true even if it’s a ‘brand’, in which case you will probably be paying many times their worth.
When they show you their safety razor removing the beard hair from their absolute roots, or their soap making the germs disappear in seconds, remind yourself that that’s an animation which has as much to do with reality as has the exploits of say, Courage the Cowardly Dog.
The insult-to-intelligence ads come in many varieties. For example, while it’s fine if you are interested when you see a manufacturer improving its........