Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Should Advertising Lie?

Well, of course, there are regulations to prevent false claims, but the question came to mind when I saw an advertisement for the genealogy website genesreunited.co.uk that features film of a small group of elephants walking single-file through a dry river-bed. The voiceover informs the viewer that they are searching for the Elephants' Graveyard.

The trouble is that the Elephants' Graveyard is a mythical invention and furthermore I'm pretty sure that the footage (which frustratingly I cannot find online) has been taken from a recent documentary about desert elephants. Their hunt is not for ancestral grounds, but for new sources of water in the face of a severe drought.

Does that matter? I don't know, but in an age of ever-increasing transparency it makes much more sense to be completely sure that you're telling the truth because once you're caught in a lie (even an inadvertant one), everything else you say will be open to doubt.

The fact that genesreunited.co.uk is owned by the country's biggest commercial television network is just an added irony.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Simon said...

John

Completely agree with you over authenticity, though I would be incredibly disappointed if the context, as well as the clearance, of the ad in question wasn't thoroughly checked.

4:17 PM, June 02, 2008  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

I remember reading a fascinating piece about how its perfectly legal to lie but not in advertising.

So here goes.

This is easily the most authoritative marketing blog on the planet and I intend to steal Chairman Mao's shrunken corpse tomorrow and pop it on Ebay.

12:24 PM, June 07, 2008  

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