There are two types of exaggerations in advertising - one where you exaggerate to hide the truth and secondly where you over exaggerate for fun. Is one better than the other?
It is believed that the truth is no fun when you’re advertising and will make you lose customers. You thus have brands doing either of the two things: exaggerate the features of their products to make it look better than another or secondly exaggerate out of fun and jest. After all how different can be your brand of underwear or chewing gum from your competitors? Yet, there’s a difference between the two types of exaggeration.
In one you exaggerate to hide the truth, and in the second you obviously and deliberate exaggerate to arouse humour. Looking at both from the prism of absolute logic, both are off course lying about the product yet if you take moral standards that human have, only the first qualifies as lying while the second qualifies as ‘for fun’.
Thus when you see brand a ‘Cheez It’ advertising where a big chunk of cheese falls from the sky and is condensed into one bit, you know that it is so farfetched that only a mentally challenged person will mistake it to be the truth. There is no attempt to depict it as the truth and thus the ad is not dishonest. This is preferable in comparison to an ad that makes false claims about the product.
It is not tough to imagine what the consumer will prefer. No one wants to be cheated and hence the dishonest ad will actually create a negative brand association if exposed. On the other hand, everyone wants to have fun. Thus an exaggerated ‘Cheez It’ ad will actually make people smile and thus is welcomed. No matter how many times you see it, it does not really lose its ability to surprise you.
The point to consider is the difference between dishonesty and exaggeration. Extreme exaggeration in advertising is not only permissible, but is extremely welcome and can help turn the fortunes of a company. Dishonesty, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs for no one knows whether ones dishonesty would be exposed by someone.
For a truly ethical brand, there is thus no debate as to what they will choose between dishonesty and exaggeration. Dishonesty will cost more while exaggeration for fun will pay more. Not a difficult choice really?