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The World’s Best Presentation on Puffery

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Presentation on theme: "The World’s Best Presentation on Puffery"— Presentation transcript:

1 The World’s Best Presentation on Puffery
Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Divilbiss, and today I will be showing you “The World’s Best Presentation on Puffery”

2 Overview Topic: Puffery in advertising
Question: Is puffery acceptable? My position: No, puffery is not acceptable. Define terms Present supporting arguments Discuss a few cases What this means for us as future advertisers/how we can make a change

3 What exactly is puffery?
Legal definitions: the practice by a seller of making exaggerated, highly fanciful or suggestive claims about a product or service an exaggerated claim of quality exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes: “hype” To answer this question, we must understand the definition of puffery. Even though it is receiving more scrutiny than in the past, puffery is still considered an acceptable practice for advertisers and salespeople. This acceptance is rooted in the free market concept of caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. Meaning that the buyer bears the risk.

4 FTC is fairly lenient with puffery
The FTC allows marketers to use puffery. The reasonable consumer should know better. Caveat emptor: means “let the buyer beware” In calling for the outlaw of its use, a New Jersey judge called it “the seller’s privilege to lie.” Their position is that puffery does not deceive “reasonable consumers.” The FTC argues that reasonable consumers have the ability to differentiate between puffery and other types of information. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware – the burden of risk is put on the buyer

5 Puffery vs. False Advertising
Puffery = Subjective (Unverifiable claims) A legal way of promoting a product or service through hyperbole or oversized statements that cannot be objectively verified. Examples: “Best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup” “Gillette. The best a man can get.” False Advertising = Objective (Verifiable claims) Illegal marketing claims occurs when factually false statements are used to promote a product. Examples: Stating that a car gets 35 miles per gallon when it actually only gets 30 mpg Stating that a knife is so sharp, it can cut through rock. Here I would like to differentiate PUFFERY and FALSE ADVERTISING. Puffery is subjective while False Advertising is objective. The words "better", "best", "greatest", and "finest" are typically used in puffery advertisements. The information is not intended to be factual. It’s not literally false, but it has false implications. False advertising is very serious and legal action may be brought against the offending company. False advertising consists of factual statements that are deceptive and are factually incorrect. For example, stating that a knife is so sharp it can cut through stone would be false advertising if it can be shown that the knife is not actually that sharp. This statement would be considered false advertising because it is deceptive, factually inaccurate, and a consumer would reasonably rely upon it in making a purchasing decision. The term “best” can be used without having to back up your statement. But when you use “better”, you had better have proof to substantiate your claim.

6 Argument 1: Puffery asserts unproven claims
Claims are not proven. Can be potentially inaccurate. They are not intentionally false, but they do have false implications. Again, I will be arguing that PUFFERY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

7 World’s Best Cup of Coffee
Here is a video to illustrate how puffery is implying a false claim.

8 Argument 2: Puffery misleads consumers
2010 VitaminWater Case An advocacy group called CSPI complained that VitaminWater’s health claims were misleading. Puffery causes people to make irrational choices based on irrational desires. Not all consumers know puffery when they see it. We cannot assume everyone is a “reasonable consumer.” Research shows that people often believe what they are told in advertisements, or are unaware of the puffery. An example VitaminWater Case: Consumers complained that Vitamin Water was exaggerating its health benefits. The consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), along with a plaintiff’s firm, claimed that VitaminWater’s labeling and marketing misled consumers by drawing consumer attention away from a significant amount of sugar in the product portraying VitaminWater as a healthy snack food that provides nutritional benefits, when the nutrients in question are only available in the product through fortification suggesting VitaminWater contains nothing but vitamins and water. I won’t get into the details of the case, but the point is that VitaminWater was claiming to be a healthy drink, when in reality, it isn’t anything more than a sugary, non-carbonated soda, contributing to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. This is an example of how puffery can be misleading. In this case, VitaminWater was guilty of omitting information about its sugar content. Advertisers should not put the burden on the consumer. That’s like saying, oh you should know when you’re being deceived. Obviously not all consumers know they’re being lied to. Puffery must work, or else advertisers wouldn’t use it.

9 Argument 3: Puffery is a form of fraud and deception
exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes. Not literally false, but has false implications Fraud: the wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities. I would like to put the two definitions from the Webster’s dictionary side by side, and let you decide. The difference is almost imperceptible.

10 Papa John’s TV spot In 2004, Pizza Hut brought a lawsuit against Papa John’s for their slogan “Better ingredients. Better pizza.” Pizza Hut didn’t like this. Pizza Hut said that Papa John’s ingredients are no better than theirs, and it was all “mudslinging.” So Pizza Hut lawyers filed a federal false advertising lawsuit against Papa John’s. This on-going battle went on from 1998 to Throughout that time period, Papa John’s was ordered to stop using their slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza,” and Pizza Hut was awarded $467,619 in damages. By the end of it all, the U.S. Supreme Court finally put this case to rest in 2004, turning down Pizza Hut's appeal, and allowing Papa John’s to continue using their slogan.

11 Domino’s weighs in on the Pizza Hut vs. Papa John’s trial
Domino’s took advantage of the dispute, positioning themselves as an honest brand, beating out Papa John’s in a national taste test.

12 Argument 4: Puffery warps social values
Violates the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” People don’t want to be deceived. It violates the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” I don’t know of anyone who wants to be deceived. “All of us who professionally use the mass media are shapers of society. We can brutalize it, or we can help lift it to a higher level.” – Bill Bernbach

13 Argument 5: Puffery undermines our ability to make free choices
A “free choice” is a choice that has as its basis on reason, as opposed to some irrational inclination, though the choice might have been initiated by some desire. Puffery encourages compulsory behavior. “The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.” – David Ogilvy Counter-argument: Some defenders of puffery have argued that it is necessary for economic viability, in order to elevate the human spirit, and in the provision of indirect, though helpful, information.

14 Argument 6: Puffery negatively affects our children
Children see about 40,000 ads per year. Children lack cognitive defenses when viewing ads Puffery is the main tool used in children’s advertising Yale study: marketing that targets children with energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods is a likely contributor to the childhood obesity crisis. Results: children could not distinguish artificial flavoring in fruit cereals or beverages Researchers concluded this result is due to puffery Is it really “part of a balanced breakfast”??

15 I’ll be honest with you, it was pretty unsettling for me to put together this presentation. It forced me to do some introspection. It brought up many questions in my mind, and made me wonder why in the world do I want to go into advertising if it is full of deception?? I don’t want to lie to people, but am I going to have to? This may seem like a bleak outlook, but I think there are decisions advertisers can make to turn things around!

16 So, does this mean advertisers are just a bunch of liars?
We have to face the facts… People lie and cheat to get ahead. Puffery is inevitable in a free market economy. Competition is high, and some companies will go as far as they can to make money. If we banned puffery, most advertising would be illegal. But don’t lose hope! There are things we can do to reduce puffery. It is possible to tell authentic stories in a low-trust world. We can present the facts in a creative, non-dry way. Plus, truth-telling can actually lead to greater brand loyalty. I think this is an important question we, as advertising students, need to ask ourselves! People will cheat in any field of work. It just happens.

17 More truthful ads I think it is possible to still create striking ads that are not puffery. a large, arresting visual image, a concise headline of bold weight, and body copy that stakes its claim with factual and often entertaining writing instead of puffery and meaningless superlatives.

18 Benefits of reducing puffery
Increased consumer knowledge More substitute products consumers can consider Reduced market power for any individual brand Lower barriers to entry for new brands More product innovation More consumer choice and price benefits

19 Industry Regulators & Advocacy Groups
Industry standards are adopted by individual business firms, by advertisers' associations, and often by the media—such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet. The National Advertising Division has established a National Advertising Review Board comprised of advertisers, advertising agencies, and the general public to deal with complaints. A Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), as the name implies, reviews advertising in all media targeting children 12 years old and younger. Outside of federal regulators, like the FTC, there are industry regulators. Industry standards are adopted by individual business firms, by advertisers' associations, and often by the media—such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet. Publishers and broadcasters realize that dishonest advertising reflects unfavorably on them as well as the businesses doing the advertising.

The National Advertising Division has established a National Advertising Review Board comprised of advertisers, advertising agencies, and the general public to deal with complaints. When the Board receives a complaint from a competing business or consumer, it examines the complaint. If the ad is deemed deceptive, the board puts pressure on advertisers through persuasion, publicity, or, in extreme cases, legal action. A Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), as the name implies, reviews advertising in all media targeting children 12 years old and younger.

20 Conclusions FTC regulations should be tighter, or more advocacy groups should be formed to fight puffery. Reduce puffery in children’s advertising. The unethical nature of puffery gives advertisers a bad reputation Why claim to be the best when you can do better? We should seek methods of persuasion that won’t hurt your effort either way, and may you look even more creative! We should invest in long-term change by committing to more truthful advertising.

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