Half-truths

December 12, 2008

Is it alright to tell half-truths? The obvious answer is no. However, it’s so easy to pass it as truth as long as there is a bit of interpolation involved. Everyone is guilty of it, including you and me.

If you’re given 30 seconds to tell your story, you better do it fast and do it convincingly. Otherwise, you lose your chance. That’s what traditional TV ads have imposed on innocent marketers who want a bigger share of the pie. Well, it’s not wrong per se but the problem is that these marketers often riddle their messages with half-truths. How else can a potential buyer be convinced in such a short time?

Take for instance, a juice ad which claims that it helps people slim down. The ad shows before and after photos. The problem is this supposedly healthy slimming juice contains loads of sugar. It’s almost as sugar-loaded as soda. If I didn’t dig deep or didn’t know anything about healthy eating, I would have believed the ad. My consumption of the said juice would have skyrocketed!

Yes, there were before and after photos. Yes, the participants could have used the product during the given period. Technically, they could have used it only once and still claim that the product helped them slim down. The ad doesn’t tell you that; it doesn’t attempt to fill in the gaps. The participants probably trained regularly and followed a diet plan. The ad just tells you to drink the juice until you see results. See the half-truth involved here?

The sad thing is that this ad is aired on national TV. Not everyone is educated in matters of health.  Healthy eating isn’t taught at school and it definitely isn’t common knowledge. The marketer behind this might be happy with his sales results but the people who were fooled would be dumbfounded when they find out that all that the juice did was worsen their sorry condition.

“Wolves in sheep’s clothing.”