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metic market. Photoshopping is used in almost every campaign on the market and it’s hard to escape it, from perfume adverts to hair products and everything in between, it’s safe to say that the model staring in the campaign will have somehow been manipulated to appear flawless in every way possible. Take this example below from the ‘Olay’ campaign for their anti wrinkle cream, infamous model ‘Twiggy’ is clearly airbrushed 20 years younger and where not even botox could deliver that much of a result.

contributes to the financial growth and stability of their company (American Advertising Federation, 1999). Another way in which advertising can reach the masses is through the internet and online advertising. What better way to target society but through our main source of information these days. They seem to be everywhere, pop ups, banners, all informing us of some miracle way to lose weight or where we can find a cheap holiday like nowhere else. The best way to avoid being conned by these ads is to simply ignore them, including the flashing banner that informs you of being the 1,000,000 member to the site so will be giving away a free state of the art television worth more than a year’s The consumer industry it seems salary. One site that is trustworthy howhas become very competitive. ever is the ASA (Advertising Standards Companies are more interested Association) here they name and shame about competing with each other misleading websites and approve lethan being interested with the gitimate ones. For example the ‘Ionic changes in the consumer market. Balance Band’ an alternative therapy The result of this is simply just company claimed their bands were endless streams of commercials able to provide the following benefits: of the same types of product all increased energy and stamina, faster reclaiming they give better results covery, faster healing and enhanced imthan anything else of the same mune function, reduced fatigue, boosted nature on the market. A survey metabolism, improved blood circulaof senior executives in 1999 tion, improved flexibility and balance, reveals that 82.9% somewhat deeper sleep, improved mood, greater or strongly agree that good wellbeing, sharper concentration and advertising can provide their more focus, regulated seratonin levels, company with an edge over the amplified strength and stabilised blood competition in the marketplace. pressure. However when looked into Furthermore, 86.8% somewhat deeper, ASA decided these claims were or strongly agree that advertising illegitimate and should not refer to such is a long-term investment that treatment for medical conditions where

professional medical supervision should be sought. After looking into the tricks and cons advertises use to attract the consumer market I can come to the conclusion that while some advertising may be truthful, there are some campaigns, companies and individuals that simply want to mislead consumers into purchasing their products out of greed for gain. Where some advertises ‘bend’ the truth, others falsely advertise in general with complete disregard for consumers rights to be told the truth about what they are spending their money on. When it comes to the beauty industry I feel changes could be made to use photoshop in a less obvious and more subtle way. Only subtly however, because just think, if photoshopping was to be abolished from advertising altogether then would we want to buy any product at all? We may be blatantly lied to through photo manipulation but in the end it simply comes down to expectations and reality. The way we live is through trying to escape the sometimes boring reality of our everyday lives, therefore we thrive off these expectations hoping we can feel like we are purchasing something new and exciting, different from the norm. Advertising is simply society’s way of offering us this escapism, which all in all we have learnt to live with and must accept for what it is.



When you first think of advertising what springs to mind first? Those flashy commercials on the TV claiming that they are the best thing you’ll ever buy and the most innovative invention that you must have right this second before your life becomes less and less meaningful the longer you go without this certain product. But should we really be dropping everything and throwing our money away on these things that will hopefully make our friends, neighbours and family envious of us? Because that’s how advertising gets us is it not? We all strive to accumulate bigger and better things in our life, to show that we have achieved some sort of status and have something to show for it. But very few can honestly say that they have never been let down by something they spent their hard earned money on and that seemed genuinely amazing on the adverts, only to find out what they have just blown their money on doesn’t exactly live up to what it said on the box… But when it comes to advertising, can manufacturers be blamed for wanting to make their creations seem amazing and wonderful? What would our life be like if advertisements simply told the truth straight and

simple, ‘buy this extremely average, more than likely will fail at providing any sort of results, anti ageing cream’, let’s face it, pretty boring. Even though we won’t admit it we are all suckers for those punch lines and slogans that surround our everyday lives, it’s what should be expected from living in such a consumerism based society that relies on media as a source of knowledge for what is new and interesting in the world. From this, is it fair to say that false advertising comes hand in hand with advertising itself? We surely must be aware that we are being falsely lured to buy consumer products knowing full well the disappointment we are letting ourselves in for. Take airbrushing in makeup and beauty for example, only the uneducated must believe that a models hair is that shiny and perfect after one use of this average high street shampoo or a model can look that flawless after one application of an everyday

foundation that is no different from any other product on the market, yet this is not the case and we as a society still consume. This false advertising and manipulation is something we have learnt to accept and deal with, because let’s face it there is nothing we can do about it. Can we as a society be blamed for how advertising has become? We strive for perfection so when it is handed to us how can we complain? There are many ways in which advertising can be misleading and appear to be false, however if you know what to look for and know your rights they are easily detectable and avoidable, for example if a product says it should do something it must be able to do it, next time you’re at the shops check the vitamin section as most dietary supplements will not state what the product does unless evidence is found to support it. Another way the shops can fool you is when they constantly advertise sale items, yet when you arrive in store they items have all sold out. Basically they have just tried to lure you into the store with false advertising and not having enough sale items to back up the demand. Another example of false advertising, as I mentioned before, is through the beauty and cos-

Case study  

How advertising lies to the consumer market in order to gain sales.