Example of False and Misleading Advertising

In a fast growing world of greed, many business brands secretly serve as examples of false and misleading advertising platforms which primarily feed on selling what the people want to buy rather than who or what they TRULY are. Misleading information has a lot of negative consequences on their victims, even if it may have positive consequences on the actors. The only tool used to effect this capitalist but sinister plan is done through the use of the media.

Misleading advertising covers claims made to consumers by manufacturers, distributors and retailers. It can include content in ads, catalogues, websites, social media, etc. Under consumer law, an ad is misleading if it has false or deceptive information. Ads can also be misleading if important information is left out.

Under consumer law, business must make sure any reviews they show are genuine. They must always take reasonable steps to ensure they come from genuine consumers. Businesses also can’t pay anyone to submit false or misleading reviews, or post false reviews themselves.

Undoubtedly, businesses and capital organizations spend millions of dollars on brand management and advertising in the hopes of making their products seem especially appealing in the eyes of consumers. To that end, ads can use puffery, exaggerating claims and using superlative subjective terms such as delicious, best, or perfect.

Certain industries tend to have more issues with misleading claims. Dietary supplement businesses frequently exaggerate the health benefits of their products. And over the years, tobacco companies, too, have downplayed the harmful effects of cigarettes for decades. When discovered, false claims can erode the public’s trust in a company and ruin its brand image.

Examples of False and Misleading Advertising

What are then the examples of false and misleading advertising that companies and business organizations do:

  • L’Oreal Skincare Cosmetics

L’oreal claimed its Lancôme Génifique and Youth Code cosmetics prevented skin aging by boosting genetic activity in the user. The company was unable to support those claims when pressed. Under the terms of a settlement, the cosmetics company was prevented from making any claims about their products’ ability to alter the users’ genetics.

  • Sensa Weight-loss Product

Sensa claimed that its powdered additive – that you sprinkle on food – enhanced the smell and taste of food, thus making users feel full and eat less. The FTC ruled that the claim misled consumers and made unfounded weight-loss claims. The organization was forced to pay $26.5 million for a settlement, and was also charged for failing to disclose that they had paid customers for their endorsement.

  • New Balance Toning Shoes

The athletic shoe maker said its toning shoe could help wearers burn calories, though the shoes were never proven to be any better at helping to burn calories than other types of shoes. New Balance settled a class-action lawsuit over those claims in 2012 for $2.3 million.

  • Sale Slash Diet Pills

Sale Slash used completely fabricated endorsements from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey to make unfounded weight-loss claims about its diet pills. The FTC ruled that the ads were deceptive and the ingredients were unproven to be effective as a weight-loss treatment. In a settlement, Sale Slash provided over $8 million in refunds.

Read Also: The Benefits of Digital Advertising to Business

  • Lumosity App

In its ads, Lumos Labs claimed its app, which offers users access to games and brain training exercises, that it would help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or help students perform better in school, though it had no proof. The company was fined $2 million by the FTC.

  • Pom Pomegranate Juice

Pom Wonderful claimed its fruit juice helped reduce the risk of medical issues such as heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction. Those claims were not backed by research and were ruled to be deceptive. POM Wonderful petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case, but it declined to do so in 2016.

  • Vitaminwater

Coca-Cola falsely claimed its Vitaminwater products could promote healthy joints, reduce the risk of eye disease, and have other health benefits. The company agreed to change Vitaminwater labels.

  • Frosted Mini Wheats

The Kellogg Company claimed Frosted Mini Wheats improved children’s attentiveness by 20%. But attentiveness did not increase as much as promised in the vast majority of children who ate the cereal. Kellogg agreed to a $4 million settlement and to stop using the ads.

  • Nissan Frontier

A 2014 ad showed a Nissan Frontier pushing a dune buggy up a hill – a feat the truck is unable to pull off in real life. The company was forced to stop airing the advertisement, or any commercial making similar unfounded claims in the future.

  • Gerber Good Start Gentle formula

Gerber made unsubstantiated claims that its Good Start Gentle formula prevented children who took it from developing allergies, a claim that could have significant consequences for children with allergies. The 2014 lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission was settled in 2019, with Gerber agreeing not to make any similar claims for the product or imply the government authorized such a claim.

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