Author Topic: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity  (Read 6689 times)

Bakari

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Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« on: September 06, 2012, 12:51:40 PM »
I don't generally see a lot of ads, thanks to AdBlock on the computer and a RePlayTV unit that automatically skips them when I watch an occasional show, but between Hulu, the few that get past the RePlay's filters, and billboards, I can't seem to escape them entirely.
Which is fine, they are paying for me to have free content, some of them are entertaining, and every once in a great while actually informative.

But there are 3 out right now which grate against me so severely that the only way I'm going to be able to stop ranting in my own head about them is to rant on the internet.

They are deliberately relying on consumer's ignorance in order to try to convey a message which simply isn't there - the facts are technically accurate, but the implication is actually the exact opposite of reality.


1) The new milk campaign, attempting to discredit soy milk:

They list a bunch of scary sounding "chemicals" that soy milk contains, to contrast with cow milk, which according to the ingredient list has only one ingredient: "milk".
Never mind that the scary sounding chemicals they list consists almost entirely of vitamins and minerals which are actually quite healthy, or neutral at worst.

So, in the interest of fairness, here are some scary sounding chemicals that are present in cow's milk:
  • oligosaccharides
    galactose
    pantothenic acid
    phosphorus
    selenium
    manganese
    lipoprotein lipase
    inactivated alkaline phosphatase
    lactoperoxidase
    C16:0 ß-hydroxy fatty acids
    conjugated linoleic acid*
    α-lactalbumin
    blood serum albumin
    transferrin
    high proline micelle
    methionine
    cholin
    cerebrosides

*(which is a TRANSfat omg!!!!!!!! - but wait, aren't transfats all man-made and added by the evil food industry????  What?  Some transfats are naturally occurring? How can that be, when everything natural is good and healthy, and all transfats are devil food??)

Golly.  Don't all those chemicals sound unknown, and therefor scary? 



2) 5-hour energy:

73% "said they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplements to their healthy patients who used energy supplements. 73%!"
Wow!  That's a C- grade.
Ok, so never mind that 73% is not particularly impressive.

Never mind that if it has no calories it has no actual energy.  It may make you feel energetic, but the human body gets its energy from calories, not stimulants.  (Don't believe it, try going on a fast where you consume nothing but cocaine for a few months)

And never mind that almost 1/2 the doctors they tried to survey refused to participate in the first place...


They worded it pretty carefully.  Sounds like they handed out a survey that said "if you had a patient who was determined to take an energy supplement, would you recommend that it be low calorie?"
Well, sure, given that constraint, of course.
Just like IF you have a patient that smokes, you might recommend that at the very least they smoke light, filtered cigarettes.  That's not exactly an endorsement.
And even with that particular wording, 27% still wouldn't recommend it.
But wait - there's more!
If you read the fine print, even among those who would recommend low calorie energy supplements to patients who are going to take energy supplements anyway, after reviewing the ingredients of the specific 5-Hour Energy brand, 45% of them would NOT recommend it!  45%!

So, assuming that the 1/2 of doctors who refused to dignify their survey with an answer would not have been impressed, you have 50% (number who answered at all) x 73% (number who said yes to low calorie) x 55% (number of those who said yes to the brand) = 20% who actually said they would recommend the product IF a person was dead-set on using an "energy supplement".

We can only assume that the number who would recommend it to a patient who wasn't already on legal stimulants is approximately 0%



3) No On Beverage Tax

This is a local one, but similar measures are being proposed all over.
It isn't even a ballot measure yet, but the soda industry and retailers are fighting it preemptively.  In theory it would tax beverages with added sugar by one penny an ounce.

The ad claims that it would "hit the city’s poorest residents and the elderly the hardest"

Because, you know, poor people and old people are legally mandated to drink nothing but soda. 
Or is it that their unique physiological properties make it that the empty calories in soda are actually a nutritional requirement? 

Ah, I know - some people are SO poor that, not only aren't their supermarkets nearby with real juice, they don't have running water, so their only source of liquid is the soda they buy at the gas station.

Wait... what?  Gas stations and corner stores sell not only 100% juice, but also bottled water? Hmm....

Whoa, whoa, whats that!?  Running water is legally required in all rental units, including the projects and even homeless shelters, and many if not most renters don't actually pay for metered water?  Are you saying all these poor people could actually be drinking water for FREE?

And even if one does pay metered rate for tap water, its cost is between one half to 5 cents a gallon?  Now you are just being silly. 
That would mean that even without the tax, generic brand soda costs roughly 35 times as much as tap water for the exact same nutritional value. 
Gosh, so maybe drinking water would save more money than traveling to a city without a beverage tax to find cheap soda, as the ad campaign suggests is the only possible alternative.



I suppose its good that we have any truth in advertising laws at all, but I really think we need to take the next step and ban "technically accurate but deliberately deceptive and misleading in it's implications" advertising as well.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 09:15:35 AM by Bakari »

Jamesqf

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 01:19:45 PM »
Never mind that if it has no calories IT HAS no actual energy.  It may make you feel energetic, but the human body gets its energy from calories, not stimulants.  (Don't believe it, try going on a fast where you consume nothing but cocaine for a few months)

I have to disagree with that.  The problem is the multiple meanings of the word "energy".  Here it's being used in the "feel energetic" sense.  Most people have enough (or far too much!) in the way of stored calories that a stimulant which worked by promoting the burning of those calories to produce a feeling of energy would be a good thing.  (Though I seriously doubt that this one really works :-))

ShavinItForLater

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 02:10:00 PM »
I'm partial to the drug advertisements where they often don't even clearly state what problem the drug is intended to solve, but advise you to talk to your doctor to see if it's right for you.  Especially the ones that have a long list of fast-talked side effects, many of which sound much worse than the condition the drug is supposed to treat.

I was further alarmed some years back when my wife went to a relatively young doctor for the first time, and as she rattled off some relatively minor complaints, he handed her at least 5 different prescriptions she could try, many of which were chronic medications.  Not wanting to be drug dependent for life, she tried none of them, but how many people would have gone directly to the pharmacy?

sideways8

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 06:46:36 PM »
"May cause loss of scalp and penis."

I hate the ads for diet pills. The ones that really irk me are the ones that say "No need to get off your ass or eat reasonably healthy food!!" And you've gotta love the sense of urgency they fabricate for these things. "Call now! Supplies are limited!" or "Order within the next 15 minutes and you get a FREE gift! But wait! There's MORE!!" It's especially hilarious when it's a tv ad with a little timer counting down those 15 minutes... but every time you see the commercial (seems like every 5 minutes) the timer has been restarted. Hmmm...


gooki

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 04:00:22 AM »
Loved the rant, made my day.

TLV

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »
There's a brand of cosmetics that advertises itself as "only xxxx is 100% pure." Pure what? Pure marketing BS if you ask me.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 10:52:27 AM »
but wait, aren't transfats all man-made and added by the evil food industry????  What?  Some transfats are naturally occurring? How can that be, when everything natural is good and healthy, and all transfats are devil food??)



I have a favorite thread from a bodybuilding forum from years ago, where someone blew a bunch of internet bodybuilder's minds when he pointed out that transfats occur naturally.  The context was within the subject of "clean" foods.  It was pretty hilarious.

Matt K

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 11:55:33 AM »
Quote
Don't believe it, try going on a fast where you consume nothing but cocaine for a few months
Best line of the day.

I will argue against transfats. Yes they occur naturally, and heating otherwise healthy oils (like Olive oil) to their smoke point will change 'good fats' into transfats. But, cyanide is naturally occuring too*. That doesn't make it good. Transfast have been shown to have very real effects on the human brain. Long term brain damage type effects. Given the choice, I will avoid transfats whenever possible (but not freakout if I happen to ingest some).

The advantages of transfats to food producers are they they allow hydrogenated oils to keep a desired consistency at temperatures where the oils wouldn't normally exist in that state. The best examples are margarines that keep a perfect texture in both the fridge and at room temperature, cookie doughs that keep soft/fresh longer, and deep frying oils that last longer.

Our margarin company went transfat free and now the margarin seperates (like natural peanut butter) over time. Thankfully it is easily strirred back into veggie-oil-goodness.

Commercials are the single biggest reason why I cannot watch TV anymore. Even the 10 minutes before the trailers start at a movie theatre are torture.

*Cyanide occurs as an epoxy in many plants leaves. When an animal grinds the leaves in their mouth the cyanide mixes and creates an incredibly bitter taste and will upset the animals digest system. Good way to keep from being eaten if you ask me.

Jamesqf

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 02:47:02 PM »
"The dose makes the poison." - Paracelcus

The problem isn't really the small amounts of natural trans-fats, it's the much larger amounts of artificially-added trans fats.  Almost anything is ok in small enough amounts, just as almost everything is toxic in large enough doses - you can die from drinking too much water, fer gawdsakes!  There are even many things - vitamin A is the classic example - that are necessary for life in small amounts, but toxic in large.

elindbe2

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 03:16:40 PM »
Advertisements get so sickeningly cliched as well.  For example, there are only about 5 or so types of car commercials:

  • Person racing their car on dusty open road
  • Guy driving his pickup/SUV through the mud
  • Guy in suit and glasses driving his luxury car all classy-like
  • Mom and kids in mini van, kids act cute, and mother feels all safe
  • Quirky people drive their quirky "eco"-car to quirky tune

For american beer commercials, there's about 3 types:

  • Guys watching sports, avoiding wives
  • Guys at bar ogling women
  • People in suits at bar, laughing about godknowswhat

Its the same way with popular movies too.  It just gets so fucking old.  I guess its hard to think of new ideas about shitty beer or laundry soap.

PaulM12345

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 01:24:06 PM »
Here's an ad at an airport, placed directly above a drinking fountain:

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/09/10/at-sea-tac-airport-dont-drink-disgusting-water

With a photo of a big, gross, expensive looking beverage, it says, "Mmmm, you deserve better than water!"

elindbe2

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 02:18:55 PM »
Here's an ad at an airport, placed directly above a drinking fountain:

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/09/10/at-sea-tac-airport-dont-drink-disgusting-water

With a photo of a big, gross, expensive looking beverage, it says, "Mmmm, you deserve better than water!"

What I really want is a comments section on every ad like this where you can post snarky comments like "Mmmmmmm, you deserve diabetes!"

Bakari

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 08:23:35 PM »
The youtube version of the 5 hour energy ad has disabled comments
hmm, I wonder why...
:P

igthebold

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Re: Advertisements that only work due to ignorance and stupidity
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 06:41:42 AM »
Any time you see the words, "you deserve," alarm bells should be going off like crazy. But they don't, so the ads work.