Typically, the articles on advertising tricks and manipulation aren’t published on websites for advertisers. On the contrary, they serve as warning for consumers to “watch out” and not be fooled by ads. Well, you might be intrigued, what is the purpose of publishing this content on the advertising network’s blog? It’s easy – we want our clients, mostly advertisers, to be successful. Using doubtful techniques that aim to trick potential customers into spending money in their ads can harm the advertiser’s reputation and ruin credibility.
What we are referring to is not using human psychology peculiarities to make products more appealing to consumers, but rather blunt manipulation that can be painfully obvious and have the exactly adverse effect. The fact is, 50% of American population don’t trust advertisements, whether audio, video or both. Consumers are not as naive as advertisers may perceive them to be, surrounded by the aggressive commercials and in need of protection against impulsive spendings. So, today, we list the hackneyed manipulations in advertising that should better be not used at all or used with caution if you care about your customers’ loyalty.
1. Social proof (without actual proof)
No doubt, you’ve seen/heard it hundreds of times – “The majority of people prefer…”, “n product is #1”, “Nine out of 10 people choose …”. Actually, people often rely on recommendations, and showing the product already chosen by many may make people want to join the tide as well.
However, consumers are more sceptical than ever about such claims. So, unless you can prove with hard data what you’re stating in the ad, don’t use this technique or you risk looking not really trustworthy.
2. Sex appeal
You definitely are aware of the fact that using sex appeal in marketing is considered a way to immediately catch attention, especially men’s. Many brands use this technique for products that aren’t connected to beauty industry or human body in general, like Budweiser (beer), GoDaddy.com (web hosting); Jr. Carl’s (fast food) etc.
Nevertheless, you should be very careful not to be considered too suggestive and having poor taste. So remember about the boundaries and strive to find the balance between appealing and tasteless if you do decide sex appeal is the right technique for spreading the word about your product or brand.
3. Using deceptive language
Weasel words – this is what the numerous intensifying words often used in ads are called. Named after weasels, who can suck out the contents of an egg, leaving the shell intact, this “advertising language” deceives and exaggerates to make customers believe the claim.
How often have you heard “savings up to 50%”, which actually meant anything from 1% to 50% and 50% very seldom? What about medicines that only “help to cure” or “provide the feeling of….”? The same goes about “improved”, “strengthened”, “enriched”, “intensified” – usually the exact number or extend of “improvement” is nowhere to be seen. Using such language may make the ad message seem stronger and more credible, but it’s not supported by hard data.
So, be ready to answer for each word in your ad – literally. If you can’t – don’t use it for the sake of producing an effect, set yourself apart from others who do.
4. Using fake “expert” recommendation or scientific data
Do you remember the TV commercial where “80% of dentists recommend Colgate”? Colgate was under fire for this “misleading” claim, since they misinterpreted the results of the research it was based on.
Similarly, companies may use actors playing experts to recommend their products. This means risking not only your reputation, but also breaching ad rules and being fined.
Likewise, using the graphs and complicated calculations in the ads can add credibility to the message, but only provided they have solid ground, as some sceptical customers can choose to check them.
These are some of the potential pitfalls on your way to creating tempting ads that catch attention and work for your benefit. With so many other really effective and creative techniques, you can easily do without the above ones, avoiding unnecessary risks and being able to stand out of the crowd with your unique message.
P.S. TRACKLAM is the ad network to handle your ad launch and running – all types of online and offline ads types and media, performing everything online, accurate stats and convenient reporting.