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Pass Me The Chequebook - I Want To Burn A Few Millions More!

Paul Ashby

Visitors: 153

Well, well, well, here we go again. Fools rushing in where angels fear to tread! Fools, dear reader, are of course the advertising agencies. We need a comic George Orwell to do justice to the recent marketing/advertising news of late. A satirist to day could make sport of our dysfunctional advertising/marketing communities.

He or she would depict an industry that spends billions on totally unaccountable activities. . . and getting away with it!

Examples of advertising incompetence are emerging almost daily, for example the Financial Services Authority reported “a sizeable minority of financial firms continue to mislead consumers online. Of 77 financial websites that it had investigated, 25% fell short of its standards for accuracy, fairness and clarity. A sizeable minority of financial firms continued to mislead consumers online"

The FSA has fined a handful of firms for misleading advertisements including a £500,000 penalty against AXA Sun Life in 2004, £165,000 against Chase De Vere in 2003, and £70,000 against Cantor Intex, in 2004.

Interestingly one third of consumers said that they had seen a misleading financial advertisement in the last three months. Fully three quarters of respondents said that financial adverts were full of jargon and could be confusing. The FSA received 364 complaints about broadcast financial adverts and 663 about print adverts.

The Advertising Standards Authority has in the past two years upheld complaints against Barclays, Alliance & Leicester, Lloyds TSB, HSBC, RBS owned Churchill and NatWest.

It appears that Financial Services are especially prone to misleading advertising. The scope for weasel words and for burying the nasties in the fine print is immense!

Then comes the real waste. It has recently been revealed that the highly expensive Government sponsored Anti-drink campaign has been totally wasted. Anti-drinking campaigns that show young people falling over drunk at parties are “catastrophically misconceived", according to a government funded study on the subject.

In fact, it found that the young pride themselves on their “drinking stories". Adverts that show drunken young people being thrown out of night-clubs or being carried home are more often seen as typical stories of fun night out than something to be avoided. “Extreme inebriation is often seen as a source of personal esteem, " said Professor Christine Griffin, from the University of Bath.

Then there is the Unilever story, Dove's original campaign, developed by Ogilvy & Mather using non-professional models picked off the street was an instant success. However the commercial success of the campaign is debatable. Competitors acknowledge that “real beauty" was a brilliant idea, well-times and well-executed, but there is uncertainty over the sales statistics!

Just how much longer will the unaccountable advertising waste go on I ask?

Paul Ashby pioneered interactive communication to the advertising and marketing communities some twenty-five years ago. The communication issues he addresses have been neglected during the explosive grown of advertising in the 60s, 70s and 80s, these are Cognitive Dissonance, Selective Retention and Selective Exposure.

Would you like to discover the incredible results to be attained by using interactive communication? Well these are revealed for FREE at or contact Paul directly on paul.


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