We know ads are designed to hook us, but we fall for their pitches anyway. Who among us hadn’t succumbed to the lure of the infomercial product? Sometimes we’re thrilled with our purchases, but sometimes we feel duped—and that’s where our reporter comes in. He envisioned a place called Truth World, where everything you heard in ads was exactly, literally true. To find out what that would be like, we ran some ads through our own hype-to-reality converter. And what did we get? The Truth World translation, plus some tips for how not to get suckered.
Here’s one of my favorite examples:
THE CLAIM New and improved!
TRUTH WORLD TRANSLATION It’s just in a new (and probably smaller) package
HOW NOT TO GET SUCKERED Sure, the product may have changed in some way you might consider an improvement, as when Dial added ridges to its hand soap to make it easier to grip, declaring on the package “New! Grip Bar.’” But nowhere did the package call out that the bar had shrunk from 4.5 ounces to 4 ounces. Pay attention to the tiny type and realize that marketing claims that a product is new, improved, or otherwise enhanced may be just like a magician’s tricks, designed to get you to notice one thing while something else is going on.
For more examples, check out the rest of the story in our July issue. And let us know if you have any ads you’d like us to run through our Truth World translator!