Suppose I told you that I was going to give you $200. And when you came to collect the money, I said that I meant I’d give you the money if you completed a 26-mile marathon. You’d probably have a few choice words directing me where to put my $200. You might even call-off our friendship over the ordeal. Sounds a bit drastic? That’s exactly the scenario happening with many of today’s marketed products.
Marketers announce great deals or terrific buys, then, when you show up to claim your deal, they tell you about the fine print, which states that there are conditions you must meet before they issue the deal of a lifetime. And you end up paying more than what was originally advertised. And then, they ‘gotcha.’
We need an Advertising Czar. And I should be that man. As Czar, things would be different. Advertising claims would be less ambiguous and more truthful. Ads would have to say what they mean — and not in the fine print — and mean what they say. If an ad starts out with the word, ‘no,’ the final act would also start with, ‘no’ — nothing. Those ads that announce, ‘No money down,’ or ‘no processing fees,’ or ‘travel free,’ could expect no money handed over, no fees paid, and to travel for free.
Growing up, my mother told me that my word was my bond. Said if I didn’t stand by my word, no one would trust what I said. That made sense. But the dynamics have changed. Now, people say things to get what they want, consequences be damned. Politics too, is the blame for our word, our bond, falling off the scale of meaning. Our leaders have made it acceptable to speak out of both sides of their mouths.
Well, all that would end on my watch. As Czar, I would reset the standard. There would be no fine print in advertising, period. Secondary conditions, as part of any initial offering, would be null and void. And all bait, hook and switch tactics would be punishable by stiff fines or jail or both. I’d hold agencies, businesses and organizations to the long ago standard of: What you say, is what they get.
Vote ME for Advertising Czar (just kidding).