Deceptive and Manipulative Advertisements

Peter Anierobi Written by Peter · 1 min read >

Deceptive Advertising

  1. Airborne – Wards off germs 

Airborne’s manufacturers settled a deceptive advertising class action lawsuit for $23.3 million. Center for Science in the Public Interest senior nutritionist David Schardt says this is just one skirmish in his ongoing war against false advertising. 

Airborne’s rapid expansion across the country may be attributed to the product’s hook—”It’s the one conceived by a school teacher.” 

However, it is the one that has, according to Schardt, been deceiving customers for the past decade. Airbone, he claims, first hit the market with the premise that its formula could prevent colds, based on the work of second-grade teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell. Later, Airborne changed its marketing to simply state that the supplement “boosts your immune system.” 

The issue, according to Schardt, is that Airborne did not provide any proof for either allegation. Schardt felt strongly about bringing legal action against the corporation on behalf of a large group of people for this same reason.

2. Kelloggs Kashi – So Natural 

The health food giant Kashi, owned by Kellogg’s, faced criticism for deceptive advertising practices in 2011.  Kashi cereal wasn’t as natural as it appeared. S studies discovered that “natural” cereals, including several under the Kashi brand, included GMOs (genetically modified organisms), proving that the use of the name “natural” in food advertising is deceptive (since few federal criteria for such “naturalness” truly exist). 

After reading about it in the New York Times, many people became outraged, causing many health-conscious individuals to post on Kashi’s Facebook page, “All natural, yet genetically modified?” 

… I have been a Kashi customer for many years, but I refuse to purchase any of your items until I see the USDA Certified Organic logo. I just can’t rationalize buying Kashi after reading the Cornucopia Institute study, since you utilize the same ingredients as everyone else. 

While it’s conceivable that some of our meals include GMOs, the major reason for that is because in North America, far over 80 percent of several crops, including soybeans, are cultivated using GMOs,” a Kashi spokesman said in response to the criticism. External factors have contributed to a setting where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not monitored closely enough. Therefore, Kashi and the Cornucopia Institute engaged in a furious back-and-forth, with Kashi ultimately promising to make new cereals that are validated as Non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. Kashi demonstrated the potency of social media outrage by releasing 11 varieties of GMO-free cereal.

Manipulative Advertising

  1. De Beers – Creating Artificial Scarcity for Diamonds

As more and more diamond mines were discovered in South Africa in the 19th century, the price of diamonds should have fallen forever. Instead, the diamond mines in the country were bought up by the English company De Beers Mining. With the support of a manipulative advertising effort that popularized the idea that diamonds were a symbol of everlasting love and marriage, the company leveraged its monopoly to keep supplies low and prices high throughout the 20th century.

2.  Skechers – Big Claims for Footwear

Skechers misrepresented the weight-loss benefits of its shoes to consumers, using the chiropractor spouse of a Skechers marketing officer as evidence. Customers who purchased the “muscle-toning” shoes are entitled for a refund after the corporation paid $40 million to settle manipulative advertising claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

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