- Elements of deceptive advertisements
- How a case account to deceptive advertisements
The Federal trade commission policy paper declares deceptive advertisement to be unfair, misleading and of material respect which is against the law. These advertisements may sometimes persuade falsehood purchase of products. Hence, there is a need to identify the elements of deceptive advertisement which will enable the protection of the consumer from such advertisements.
Elements of deceptive advertisements
Most of deceptive advertisement cases are supported with certain elements. The first element being that, there has to be a description or error of neglect that is probable to delude the consumer.
Deceptive advertisements cases that have been found deceptive usually comprise false verbal or written representations. In some instances it is the error of neglect of information which is needed to avert the assertion, from being misleading.
The second element is the practice from the consumer point of view acting reasonably to the situation the measure is the response or interpretations by a reasonable consumer. To be regarded as sensible, the understanding or response does not have to be the only measure but also if that is the massage represented was deliberated to convey.
Finally the last element being, representation, error of neglect, or practice is of material nature. The fundamental issue is whether the act or presentation is likely to have an effect on the consumer’s judgment regarding the product (Federal Trade Commission: Policy Statement on Deception Para. 4- 34).
Happy Cows Company and deceptive advertisements issue
Happy Cows Company being a competitor in supply of milk has shown interest of being a market leader in the supply of milk. In line with this, Happy Cows Company decided to advertise its milk product as Organic while in fact the company is producing 50% organic milk and the other 50% being hormonal milk. With this labeling of its milk as organic it translates to 75% sales if its milk. To this point the company labeling on its milk as organic translate to a deceptive advertisement.
To start with, it brings out a misleading massage to the consumers as all the milk is labeled organic yet not all of the milk is organic resulting to consumers misinformed as the company does not explicitly explain to the consumers in their advert that however they sell organic milk, they also sell the hormonal milk.
This will mislead the consumer that they are really buying Organic milk although it is not satisfied.
The company’s description of the milk as organic conveys a false meaning other than the intended one of also selling its hormonal milk.
This happens to be confusing to a reasonable consumer even though there is a disclaimer that it is not satisfied to be standard. In any case the consumer expect that any product selling in the market has to have meet some standards which of course Happy Cows need to have met before starting selling it milk to the consumer.
Finally the happy cow company’s labeling on its milk as organic present a deception of material nature as the labeling of its milk organic and yet they sell the hormonal milk under the same label is likely to have an effect or injury on the consumer’s judgment regarding the milk.
If that is the case, then the advert of their milk as organic yet not all is organic is substantially material and is probable to cause consumer injury as consumers are likely to choose distinctively due to deception which is not according to their wish
Speedy Net advertising
Speedy Net is an internet service provider company which has embarked on market campaign as the speediest net service provider with speed man who race at a speed of light being its market campaign slogan. However its services do not meet to customer’s expectation like the slow network and its network get congested during peak time, does not qualify it to be a deceptive advertisement.
This is because the advertisement does not seem misleading that the Speedy net services are fast but also depend on the network congestion as the number of users increases during peak time which can not be controlled by the net provider.
The marketing of its internet network as speedy man that deliver information at the speed of light can not be mislead a reasonable man as this is just a comparison of internet speed to light which does not mean that it exactly has to move at a speed of light hence or otherwise can not be termed as confusing to a reasonable person.
Finally the fact that it has the same limitations as any other Internet Service does not affect the customer judgment on the product service he/she is going to receive from any of the service provider. Hence, it is immaterial to say this advertisement will affect the customer judgment on the product service.
In conclusion to find an advertisement to be deceptive, there has to be a description, error of neglect or act that is likely to misinform the consumer acting sensibly in that situation and of ‘material nature’ which is to the consumer’s harm.
Federal Trade Commission: Policy Statement on Deception. 1984. Web. https://www.ftc.gov/public-statements/1983/10/ftc-policy-statement-deception