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10 October, 2021 12:42:55 AM
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Addressing deceptive advertising

In many developed countries the multi-national companies have no scopes to provide fake information about the products they are marketing. Even in those countries advertising on baby food items are completely prohibited.
Alaul Alam
Addressing deceptive advertising

Definitely, advertising is important to make the consumers aware of any product and to serve the business goal of the companies. A standard advertising serves both ends of the entrepreneurs and the consumers. But over the years an advertising trend has developed that misleads the consumers. In most cases, the advertisements go against the code of ethics in business.

In these days it is evident that entrepreneurs and companies are not bothered about their fake advertising whether it has severe impacts on the consumers, rather their only concern is to increase their immediate sales volume of products giving fake and coloured information about their products.

Specially, the people of developing countries are bearing the brunt of the deceptive advertising. Both national and multi-national companies are found desperate to fulfill their business target fair or foul. They see huge scopes to befool the consumers in the developing and under-developed countries. In Bangladesh the deceptive advertisements of the products from daily essentials to home appliances are very rampant which affect the consumers disastrously.

It is evident that advertising culture for promoting products in the market is not a new phenomenon, rather the history of advertising can be traced to ancient civilizations. First, oral advertising was recorded in the history. Products were advertised playing flutes and marching on the streets to make the consumers known about the products.

Undoubtedly, TV advertising is very significant to popularize any product to the consumers in the quickest possible time. These days apart from TV platform, goods manufacturing companies have seen online platforms the fertile ground for promoting their products.

Findings from a study reveal that the consumers are greatly influenced to buy their necessary products watching advertisements on TV. The more the products are advertised, the more the sales increase. Not only the ordinary consumers but also the consumers of the elite class consider the products more reliable which are advertised on TV and many other online and offline platforms.

Certainly, there are some multi-national and national companies, the names of which are known to even an ordinary consumer knows who relies on their produces. But how far they are satisfying their consumers with their business ethics is questioned by many in these days. More often media sources expose many fraudulent activities of the reputed consumer goods manufacturing companies. They colour the quality of their products intentionally to supersede other business competitors.

It is really surprising to see that in the advertising most of the companies claim that their products are clinically tested, proven or experimented but how far their claims are evident when we see that different testing labs and research experiments expose the truth that many consuming products of the branded companies are exposing health risks.

Really, it is nothing but cheating the consumers. Obviously, they have the right to run their business as being certified by the government but do they have the right to play with the consumers with fake and exaggerated information about their produces in the name of advertising. They actually play with the consumers’ sentiments in most cases.

In these days people are more health conscious and like to eat low fat and healthy products. The consumer goods manufacturing companies are describing the quality of their products highlighting some words such as low fat, diet, sugar free and good for heath, etc. The advertisements attract the consumers thinking that they have selected the healthy products but in reality they may not be in most cases.

Again it seems more frustrating when we see the label on the bottle of cooking oil claiming the healing powers produced by some reputed companies. They also claim that the cooking oil they are marketing prolongs youth of consumers, strengthens their hair and improves the health of their skins while advertising.

We see that many national and multi-national companies give advertising on their baby food items providing fake information. In advertising there is a common claim that by taking their products the children will be taller, sharper and stronger than those who will not be taken. It is really astonishing why these bogus claims are not stopped.

But in many developed countries the multi-national companies have no scopes to provide fake information about the products they are marketing. Even in those countries advertising on baby food items are completely prohibited.

Fake claims are also rampant in the advertising of beauty products. Many companies give the guarantee that their products will soften and brighten the skin. Besides, the users will have healthier skin as their products are full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Certainly, they see huge success over misleading the consumers. Many products are claimed to have anti-ageing products and the users will look 10 years younger than they have the original age. Such types of fraudulent claims instigate the consumers to use those beauty products.

Experts opine that beauty products cannot make the users fairer; if that could be, there would be no more black people in Africa and Asia. Again beauty products hardly make the users younger as getting aged is very natural. In case of shampoo and hair conditioners it is claimed that hair fall must be stopped within 14 days. Think how they are befooling us with enticing information.

In the cities, departmental stores are found to take different sales strategies to fulfill their targeted sales in the framing time. They advertise discount offers through SMS on different items of products. Especially on holidays they announce discount offers on some selected products but to purchase those products the buyers are to go through some conditions which are not informed to the customers in the SMS advertising.

Recently my eyes have got still on an online advertising. The advertising claims that a single pizza price is one taka only. But when I went through the advertisement in detail, I found that the first pizza must be purchased with TK 700 hundred, then the second pizza would be Taka 1.

You may become entertained to see such advertisements and think that such offers are really cheap but things are not like that, rather they have doubled the price of one pizza and made fraud with the consumers with fake enticement. In the advertising companies usually claim that they are offering discount but the real thing is that they are giving discount offers on the increased prices of the products and befooling the consumers.

Again we see that national and multi-national companies use beautiful girls and women in advertising their products. In the advertising girls are shown in the wrong way that they are also products. Sexy gestures are displayed to attract the consumers towards the products they advertise. The sexy image of a model wearing top, t-shirt and short pant are revealed on screen to promote their products. It is undoubtedly an unethical practice in advertising as sex is not related to the products or services.

In the era of digitization the offensive, fraudulent, confusing and misleading advertisements are more pervasive. In the recent times some fraudulent e-business organizations such as Evaly and E-orange have attracted the consumers to their products by stating enticing but fake information and misguided the consumers.

However, the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 and Bangladesh Competition Commission Act, 2012 are exiting to save the consumers’ rights and prevent anti-consumer activities. Undoubtedly, fake advertising needs to be addressed in the light of existing acts and laws. On top of that, to combat this burning issue there is no alternative to establishing a strong legislative bodies who will work against deceptive advertising. To this end, it is very urgent to stop deceptive advertising disastrous for consumers.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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