Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Truth in Advertising

By Wesley Lowery

Earlier this quarter I got into a Twitter-war with some of my fellow classmates about whether advertisement and PR truly falls under "journalism."
My argument, which I still maintain, was that neither of those professions uphold the fundamental value of truth. Rather than being focused on giving consumers 100 percent accuracy and transparency, the job of advertisers is to sell, while the job of public relations is to control information — not necessarily to provide it.
But whether they are aspects of journalism or not, it is still vitally important that advertisers adhere to some level of truth in their advertisements. Federally, there are some guidelines about what aspects of the truth advertisers are allowed to stretch.
Unfortunately, not all advertisers stick to those guidelines.
The obvious example is where magazine covers and clothing advertisements photoshop their models to make them appear more thin.
And while many people who study advertising don't think it's a huge deal to chop a few pounds off of a model, or to photoshop someone's dress to make it a little bit more form-fitting, journalists will tell you that, ethically, it is never ok to bend the truth.
I think the best way to combat the practice of misleading advertisement is to have better education for advertisement students, and the explanation that truth needs to be the utmost priority.
But in the meantime, we'll continue to enjoy tons of misleading ads. Cracked.com compiled a list of 10 of the most misleading ads.
And one of my personal favorites is an ad that took fire earlier this year. Exon Mobile, the world;s most profitable oil company, released an ad bragging about non-existent environmental programs and showing an assortment of random environmental issues.
I've included the video, and a spoof of it, below:

The ad:

The spoof:

No comments:

Post a Comment