When it comes to entrepreneurship, ethics can easily come up against the influence of the gain, or profit, of the entrepreneur. There is oftentimes temptations to make exaggerating claims in false advertising marketing about products or services that are aimed at generating a lot of persuasion to buy in. This can be especially true when there is a powerful investor involved as a product or service can be right on the line of making or breaking its spot in the market. The better the pitch sounds, the higher a chance it closes the sale, right?
There are many smaller levels, however, that some persuasion can be achieved with some marketing “flair” or a sort of showmanship can be exhibited during the marketing of a product or service that can accomplish the sales the business owner wants to achieve. These efforts, when made in an ethically conscious manner can be done with skill and techniques that can give an entrepreneur the competitive edge, not a deceitful advantage.
In the following examples, these brands were caught misleading their consumers deliberately, and ended up facing charges of false advertising that could also ultimately ruin the reputation of the brand itself.
1. Remember hearing about the brand Airborne? Very popular in the 1990s, the orange powdered herbal supplement was being marketed as a supplement that would help increase the chance of contracting common illnesses such as the cold or the flu. The CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) ran tests to verify the marketing claims and discovered there was no concrete evidence backed by any science to prove them as true. As a result, Airborne paid a $23.3 million in order to settle the lawsuit regarding the false claims.
2. Marketing claims were made in 2011 from New Balance about their line of shoes that was supposedly capable of helping you burn more calories than regular shoes simply the design and construction of the shoe. It was proven in multiple studies that there were no such existence of these superior benefits, in fact, some speculation that the design might have actually led to injury! Every customer of those shoes was paid a $100 refund.
3. Splenda made some big marketing claims in the early 2000s that their product was a byproduct of sugar. Their attempts to temp consumers into feeling safe was debunked by the Sugar Association that unearthed the product was in fact a heavily processed chemical compound. The settlement Splenda eventually agreed to was confidential.
Perhaps the strongest point we want to make in this article is to emphasize the importance of researching certain claims for yourself. A claim that is made to consumers that promises to help make their life better or improve it in a detrimental way is important to understand, both to prevent misuse of the product and how it works properly. For example, several online retail shops are popping up on the internet claiming, falsely, to sell a readily available Coronavirus vaccine. They can fill a webpage with copious amounts of medical information that sounds legitimate, but anyone that buys these fake products are being taken advantage of. Educate yourself before committing to products that can influence your health and well being, let alone your pocketbook!
The customer always comes first is a good approach not only for customer service, but when considering the ethical interest of your product, service, or message! Delivering an honest message or offer is important for the trust of your brand that false advertising marketing destroys. If you are looking to market your product or service with a competitive advantage in your market, give your Online Capital Group a call today at (904) 600-3600.