Foundation Diet and Health
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The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health

10 Lies That Advertising Sold You

A list of the top 10 market ploys, wild exaggerations, and outright lies that advertising companies have tried to feed you over the last few decades.
7:13 English

A list of the top 10 market ploys, wild exaggerations, and outright lies from advertising companies.

Published on:
18 November 2015
Number of views:
2'001'099 on 27 September 2017
Health, Principles/General, Nutrition, Lifestyle, Industry/Commerce, Ethics
Principle, General topics, Functional Food, Convenience food, Nutritional forms
Healthy, Normal diet, Food additives, Food ingredients, Toxicity, Sugar, Sweets, Fat, Unhealthy, Health, Getting started simple

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What do diamonds, natural flavors, Listerine, Mascara, fast foods, vitamin supplements, serving suggestions, bottled water, Nutella, and the American Pledge of Allegiance all have in common? —  Photoshop, misleading labels, and punchy slogans to manipulate consumer perceptions.

10. The association between diamonds and marriage was first put in place by the advertising company N.W. Ayer. The agency was hired to boost the sales of a jewelry company (De Beers) that had taken a considerable hit following the Great Depression of 1930. With the commercial message “diamonds are forever,” and the linking of gems with marriage, the company suddenly extended its target clientele from nobility to people from all social classes who were looking to hallmark one of the most important events in their life.

9. “Natural flavors” is one of the most-used buzz words in the advertising industry that is employed to suggest quality and favorable benefits. According to the Environmental Working Group in America, this is the fourth most commonly listed ingredient in over 80'000 foods studied. In reality, these are only enhanced chemicals found in fruits or other ingredients that are added to the product being advertised.

8. Despite not being a medical condition but a symptom of problems such as diabetes or gum diseases, the term halitosis was used in 1920 by Jordan Wheat (owner of Listerine) to boost the sales of mouthwash. Using a Latin word and suggesting the possibility of a medical issue, Wheat managed to increase Listerine’s revenues from $115'000 to $8 million.  

7. After using digitally enhanced photographs in their advertisements for cosmetic products and unrealistically depicting the expected results, in 2011 L’Oreal was forced to pull an ad for Teint Miracle foundation. The same happened to Rimmel, after being accused of having used artificial lashes to advertise their 1-2-3 Looks Mascara.

6. An entire industry has developed around food styling and food photography. Preparing food for the camera and making it look appetizing and mouthwatering has nothing to do with the actual product (an entire team worked for 6 hours to create the burger for the McDonalds posters).

5. The vitamin and supplement industry is one of the most flourishing industries in America. Even though vitamin C is promoted as a means to prevent the common cold and vitamin E to reduce the risk of heart disease, these claims are not fully backed by scientific research. This and the unexpected and dangerous side effects of such a supplement were the reason why the company Airborne was sued in 2008.

4. To trick consumers into believing that a product is healthy, the suggested servings listed on the packaging are calculated only for a small amount of the product (e.g., 500 ml CocaCola bottles are advertised as “1 serving = 100 calories” with one serving being 250 ml). Even if the suggested serving is required on the label, this information is usually hidden in places on the package that are hard to find or where the print is hard to read.

3. Despite being advertised as “cleaner,” bottled water is no healthier than tap water. In countries like America, 92 % of local water systems meet hygiene standards so that bottled water is not a necessity, but rather a way for the industry to increase its profits. Moreover, bottled water can contain dangerous substances, as was the case with the Dasani water produced by CocaCola that contained hazardous levels of the carcinogen bromate.

2. Nutella and Kellogg’s have been promoted by their producers as healthy products that provide a considerable amount of vitamins (Nutella) or strengthen children’s immune systems (Kellogg’s). However, given the lack of scientific findings to back these claims, both companies were sued.

1. The Pledge of Allegiance (an expression of loyalty to the US flag and the Republic of the United States) was allegedly created as a marketing gimmick in an attempt to boost the sales of flags in US. However, in 42 American states, it became mandatory to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and is still used at various public events.

Unfortunately, this is only a small part of the deception and manipulation that happens as a result of marketing slogans and advertisements. As Dr. Robert Lustig also stated, some undesirable behaviors (e.g., excessive sugar consumption and obesity) might therefore not be entirely a matter of personal responsibility, but an effect of the misinformation and lack of access to unbiased information.

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