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.