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The Best Advertising Comes in Truth

November 3, 2010

At thrive, false advertising is something that we would never do!

The reason is simple: if you are a good business you shouldn’t have to lie about your products/services, and if you are a bad business, even if you lie in the commercials or print ads, people are eventually going to find out. In the end, you are going to lose not only the new customers but also some old ones because the deceiving ad has changed  how they think about you.

Honesty brings good businesses. That’s how we do it here.

The days of product puffery are over. I think it’s because we’ve developed a pessimistic and sarcastic outlook toward the world in order to shield us all from looking happy go lucky and thus, stupid. These days, telling everyone why your product “glistens and sparkles” doesn’t reach the core of consumers like it used to. Whatever the reason may be for our cynical new attitudes, advertising must reflect society’s mood.Our audience wants honesty. They want to believe what we’re telling them; therefore, what we tell them must be believable, especially in the midst of this economic slump, people are looking for something they can believe and count on — nothing over the top. I’m not necessarily saying fast food chains should broadcast how many chambers of our heart will shut down after eating a large meal at their establishment, though that would be hilarious and could lead to some very interesting contests.Take a look at these examples of how honesty in advertising can be a very funny and interesting tactic.

Buckley’s, a Canadian-based cough syrup company uses the slogan, “It Tastes Awful. And It Works.” It tastes awful? Then why not buy a brand that works and tastes good?

Because at least Buckley’s is being honest.

Anyone who has had a cold knows your mom lied when she told you cough syrup tasted great. (Love you mom, but get real) Every cough syrup tastes like black licorice that’s passed through the system of a mountain goat. Buckley’s capitalizes on the fact that there is no chance this thick liquid is going to taste good, no matter what brand you try, but at least Buckley’s will get rid of that pesky cough.

Avis will tell you that they’re not the best. In fact, they’ll come right out and say that they are No .2 in the rental-car industry. Why in god’s name would brand tell you something like that? Well, first of all, because it’s true. And secondly, they back up that fact with a very poignant, “We try harder.”

Obviously, No. 1 doesn’t have to try as hard anymore, because they’re at the top — where else are they going to go? Avis, though, sitll works to get to No. 1 by getting your business. They’re “trying harder” every time you rent one of their cars. Some of their ads go on to say, “We can’t afford not to be nice.” Touché, Avis.

Our cynical side wants to lash out at advertising that uses verbiage like “the best,” “unbeatable,” or “one of a kind,” because we all picture some guy in a fancy suit and a plastic smile pitching us an overused line. We’re not some cheap date to be picked up at a bar, and we’re not buying your product.

When brands are honest with us and say, “Hey, this is what we got,” we’re much more receptive. Besides, we could use a little more credibility in our industry. The last time I checked, the only people consumers trust less than advertisers are used car salesmen.

I wonder what would happen if Avis became No. 1 in rental cars? “Avis, We used to try harder. Now, we’re good.”

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