Chinonye Moses Written by Chinonye Moses · 1 min read >

Manipulative advertising involves presentation of a product/service in the best way possible to the audience. It deals with exaggeration of positive features of the product and covering up the negative aspects. Advertisers use omission of details, lies, and intimidation of customers to the future decision making at the time of purchases.

Manipulative Advertising Tactics

Price: Lower prices induce people to buy, so companies engage in price wars and sell at rock-bottom prices, but price manipulation is dangerous because when a customer becomes used to paying a low price, it can be nearly impossible to increase the cost of an item.

Peer Pressure: When a company claims that a majority of people or experts are using their product, they’re using social pressure–also known as peer pressure–as a manipulation.

Novelty: Novelty — defined as being “new” or “unusual” — is often marketed as “innovation.” Innovation is change that is valuable and persists in the industry well into the future.

An example of Manipulative Advertising is as seen below.

In 2011, L’Oréal was forced to pull ad campaigns featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, after complaints were made by former Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that the images were overly airbrushed. Swinson lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority about the magazine campaigns for L’Oréal-owned brands Lancôme and Maybelline. The ASA ruled that both ads breached the advertising standards code for exaggeration and being misleading and banned them from future publication.

L’Oréal’s two-page ad featured Roberts, promoted a foundation called Teint Miracle, which it claims creates a “natural light” that emanates from beautiful skin. It was shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino. The ad for Maybelline featured Turlington promoting a foundation called The Eraser, which is claimed to be an “anti-ageing” product. In the ad, parts of Turlington’s face are shown covered by the foundation while other parts are not, in order to show the effects of the product.

Swinson complained that images of both celebrities had been digitally manipulated and were “not representative of the results the product could achieve”.

L’Oréal UK admitted that Turlington’s image had been “digitally retouched to lighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows”. However, it claimed there were still signs of ageing, such as crow’s feet, and that the image “accurately illustrated” the achieveable results.

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