It’s All In The Wording

Maybe it’s because I work in advertising that I notice this stuff; I don’t know. I personally try not to create misleading or duplicitous ads, but I can usually spot them instantly. I’d like to think most people aren’t so easily tricked, but the continued prolific use of deceptive advertising would indicate they probably are. That sucks.

I’ve recently heard ads for auto insurance companies that claim things like “everyone who switched to our company from the competitor felt less fleeced overall” or “people who switched from that company to ours saved an average of six-and-a-half shitloads.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course.

Given statements like these, my first reaction is to wonder what percentage of people switch for reasons other than a lower rate. I’m guessing not many. Sure, a few might switch because they got ticked at a customer service rep, but I doubt they subsequently prioritized friendly representatives over a lower annual premium. So, while these ads certainly sound impressive at first, they aren’t really saying anything. Of course, they saved money! That's why they switched!

A truly superior business needn’t play with semantics. If these companies actually had a cheaper product overall, their ads would be worded differently.  They'd state unequivocally: “Our rates are lower on average than anyone else’s. Guaranteed.”

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a cleverly worded deception devised to exploit your gullibility to the decided advantage of the perpetrator.

Or something like that.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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13 Responses to It’s All In The Wording

  1. Toe-Knee says:

    Now what station did this train of thought depart from?

  2. Masonicboom says:

    Train station? (close..) – sounds like CAR insurance ;-)(also its dangerous when thought chains exceed the length of the track)v

  3. Jillzey says:

    I think you got the old saying correct. I have noticed those ads as well. It makes me giggle. I assume that it doesn't fool the smart ones and the dumb ones hopefully have a smart friend that stops them from doing dumb things.

  4. shush now says:

    Hehehe. I love the advertisements for eggs that say they are less fat than eating breakfast meats. Yeah, eggs are less fat than bacon. You know what has even LESS fat? A ton of other foods.Same thing with rates, huh? "We're cheaper than people you know are raping your wallet! Hurrah!"

  5. tom says:

    My favorite is, "Voted (Insert your city here)'s best (product)." Voted by WHOM? One radio station here has been using that same lame-ass liner for years: "Voted Tampa Bay's #1 station for more music in the workplace." Grr. Another ad copy pet peeve: "The _______ everyone is talking about." I just imagine people standing around the proverbial water cooler, discussing the grouper sandwich at Frenchy's. "Hey! I hear Bob has a hernia." "Who cares? What about that grouper sandwich at Frenchy's??"

  6. shush now says:

    Once I actually saw small print that said, "voted (city's) best sandwiches in a poll of recent costumers." Like, OMG, really? Your own costumers like your sandwiches? Who'd have thunk?

  7. tom says:

    Right! What kind of dumbass eats at Joe's when they prefer the sandwiches at Frank's? Did it really say "costumers?" Does the sub shop cater backstage for the drama league? That would make it even better. 🙂

  8. Kirk says:

    Did it really say "costumers?" Does the sub shop cater backstage for the drama league? That would make it even better. 🙂 I didn't get that until just now. The misspelling completely eluded me for three days. In fact, I sort of wondered what you were on about.Of course, now I feel like a fool. And not the lovable, theatrical variety, either. 😛

  9. tom says:

    *hands Kirk a mask and a sandwich*

  10. Cheshire42 says:

    Heard an ad for Lunesta, a prescription sleep aid. One of its many side-effects… is drowsiness.Really? A sleep aid… can make you drowsy? Isn't that part of the desired effect, Captain Obvious? The mental midget population on this planet is truly astounding. It probably won't be long before they politely inform us that pooping is a side-effect of consuming laxatives, and popping aspirin could lead to pain relief. Just so there aren't any surprises!

  11. Steve B says:

    I'm convinced most corporations and ad companies not only think the average joe is an idiot, they depend on it.
    These are the people putting 25% less in the packages, while charging the same price, and hoping no one will notice.
    Hey, guess what? We're noticing.

  12. joey says:

    I always love the line from auto dealer radio ads: no credit application refused.One day enough people will be pissed about 'overselling' in advertisements that politicians will begin campaigning on marketing/advertising reforms. Saying that product A is better than product B should be less subjective and more objective. Right now everything is better than everything else…

  13. MrsPeel says:

    I'm still laughing my head off, very loud, at the answers to your troll in the ankle's post…. I didnt have time to read all through, but you certainly have a crowd of followers who are amazingly word/humor gifted…I m sure it wasn't nice to have someone idiotic interfering in your blogging, but for a bit, I had the best laugh… 🙂

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