Organizations operate in a highly competitive environment. Therefore, it is critical for an organization to produce high quality products that meet customer expectations.
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However, production of high quality products is not enough, an organization must engage in extensive product promotion campaigns to increase customer awareness on the products.
An organization should formulate a product promotion campaign in such a manner that it would elicit customer interest and portray the product as superior to other products in the market.
However, in some instances, a company may be tempted to lie to customers in effort to increase its sales.
An organization may engage in puffery or false advertising. Puffery is simply making exaggerated claims about a product. An organization may engage in puffery by using provable superlatives in the advertisements. Such superlatives include ‘new improved, best, and super’ (Salinger 652).
Puffery is common in various advertising campaigns. An organization may also engage in false or deceptive advertising through giving false claims on the product. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers false advertising as a fraud.
Pfizer is a leading pharmaceutical company that produces the drug Lipitor. Lipitor is one of the best drugs for lowering cholesterol. Cholesterol is the main cause of cardiac diseases. Therefore, it is vital for the company to formulate advertising campaigns that would portray the drug as being beneficial to the heart.
The company sought the help of Dr. Robert Jarvik to in promoting the image of the drug. Association of the drug with Dr. Javik would greatly improve the image of the drug, as Dr. Javik is an inventor of an artificial heart.
However, Dr. Javik is not a practicing physician. Inclusion of Dr. Javik in the advertising would greatly improve the image of the drug regardless of what he says in the advertisements. Consumers would easily trust the claims of an individual who invented an artificial heart.
However, since Dr. Javik is not a practicing physician, he has no right to feature in medical advertisements. Regardless of whether the claims in the advertisement involving Dr. Javik are right or wrong, the company is involved in puffery.
It is a fact that Lipitor is one of the best drugs for reducing cholesterol available in the market. However, being the best drug in reducing cholesterol does not guarantee that the company that customers will embrace the drug.
The company must still engage in extensive marketing campaigns. One of the strategies that the company may use to promote use of the drug is through collaboration with various renowned hospitals that treat heart patients.
Getting the endorsements of the hospitals would greatly improve the image of the drug. The company may also involve patients who have had positive results after using the drug in its future advertising campaigns.
A company should ensure that it does not engage in puffery or deception through its advertising campaigns. Puffery usually involves making exaggerated claims on a product. Deception refers to a situation where a company makes tricks the customer into buying products through making false claims.
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The difference between deception and puffery is that whereas puffery is making exaggerated claims, deception is making outright false claims. Therefore, deception is injurious to the consumer.
FTC considers deception illegal (Blocher 13). In future, Pfizer an avoid puffery or deception by avoiding making exaggerated or false claims of its products.
Blocher, Harald. Advertising ethics – an oxymoron? Santa Cruz, CA: Grin Verlag, 2008. Print.
Salinger, Lawrence M. Encyclopedia of white-collar & corporate crime, Volume 1. London: SAGE publications, 2005. Print.