Is there truth in advertising

Marketing and LanguageAdvertising promise: just so concrete and true how necessary

Advertising promises a lot. What is really true of this is a different matter. In order not to make false statements, advertising texts are particularly creative in terms of language.

In Germany, misleading advertising is generally prohibited. Specifically, according to the law against unfair competition, it is misleading if the wrong impression is given by the product and the customer only buys it because of this impression, explains Susanne Einsiedler from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations.

"It gives the wrong impression of the product or circumstances that affect the product, and you may then buy something that you would not have bought otherwise."
Susanne Einsiedler, Federal Association of Consumer Organizations

Advertising tries to get around that. Your claims are usually as vague and vague as possible and only as concrete and true as necessary.

It doesn't always work. For example, the condom advertisement was: A bag of seven pieces corresponds to 21 orgasms classified as anti-competitive. This message is misleading and leads customers to use the condom multiple times. Here a concrete statement was made that does not correspond to the truth.

"As soon as it becomes more concrete and that does not correspond to the truth, we have misleading advertising. Then it is clear: the consumer will be deceived in any case."
Susanne Einsiedler, Federal Association of Consumer Organizations

A less clear statement came from an advertisement for diet foods in 2012. Among other things, it said: Tired of counting calories? Then just leave it. With you may you can enjoy carefree.

The consumer association complained against this. Their argumentation: Obese people are led to believe that they can eat anything from this brand in any quantity without gaining weight. The court agreed with the consumer advocates that the advertising could not be further disseminated.

Advertisers who want to be on the safe side may formulate their texts as vaguely and vaguely as possible, but still try to sound attractive. Like, for example, an advertisement for hair removal wax, which is about a special system that is so literal the wax is heated to the ideal temperature, so the users then professional quality smooth skin to be able to enjoy.

Smooth skin? Ideal temperature? Professional quality? It's all a matter of opinion. Consumers could not have a concrete idea of ​​the result and so could not be fooled with false promises, explains Susanne Einsiedler.

Numbers must be verifiable

There is still the possibility of using concrete facts in an advertisement. But only if they are also true. This is the case with the commercial for "Germany's best-selling mattress".

Here it is specifically stated that there is no manufacturer who has sold more mattresses. In addition, the test winner logo from Stiftung Warentest is displayed in the picture, which should further support the quality aspect.

Numbers can also be imprecise

In order to be allowed to publish such an advertisement, the mattress manufacturer must be able to prove that he has sold a higher number of mattresses than the competition. This applies to all advertisements that compare their products with those of the competition.

Often this is done with numerical examples. This makes the numbers surprisingly vague again. An example: "It locks in fluids. For up to twice more dryness" or "Number one from the desire to have children through to breastfeeding."