And their Effects on Consumers
And their Effects on Consumers
This paper takes on the advertising of foods by fast food groups in comparison to its real counterpart. This is a problem not only faced by a single state in the country, but probably throughout the globe. Though highly neglected or disregarded by many customers who are mostly satisfied, or silently dissatisfied, with how their food orders turn up to their tables even when it doesn’t look the way it should as seen on the advertisements, false advertising is taken seriously by the law. Silent protest or a simple grunt at the food served on the table isn’t just the way to go. This paper explains the definition of false advertising as stated in the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a), the types of false advertising, and the state and federal law in place that protects consumers from false or misleading advertising. This paper also discloses the effects false advertising has on the consumers and what should be done easily in order to justify it.
Everyone, at the very least maybe once in their entire life, has fallen to a trap false advertising has crafted. Imagine this: you hear that catchy jingle on the television or radio, and see that scrumptious-looking meal printed on papers, posted everywhere your neighborhood, poking at your wallet probably inaudibly whispering to your ears, “Come on, cut your diet and buy this mouthwatering cheesy, chili tacos.” So you hurried and went to dig in, ordered meals good for ten people, and a couple of minutes later, they’re served. Only this time, your expectations that could’ve raised the roof of that place plummeted down to the bottom of the ocean. What’s staring at you – all laid in a neat tray – is a sad looking taco, which is shockingly different from how it looked like on the ads.
Now, as a normal hungry person, you could’ve just sighed and lunged on the deformity that is in your plate, but as a person who strongly believes that eating this taco would transport you to heaven as per the commercial, you go and make complaints.
This kind of false advertisement is the worst kind. Sure, you can take on the very important message buried in tiny fine print on ads, or misleading phrases, or flat-out lie, but deceitful food photography on ads is worse because you can see the deceit right in your face.
The Lanham Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a) defines false advertising as “Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities.”
According to Jacoby and Meyers Law Offices, no business may make false, misleading, or deceptive claims about a product regarding its price, quality, and purpose. Now some fast food chains may not have deceptive claims on their product regarding its price or purpose, but they are guilty when it comes to the quality.
The three main acts that constitute false advertising according to the Lanham Act of 1946 (15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq) are as follows: Failure to disclose; failure to disclose a material fact, Flawed and Insignificant Research; representations found to be unsupported by accepted authority or research or which are contradicted by prevailing authority or research, and Product Disparagement; discrediting a competitor’s product.
False advertisements that appear on fast food chains might not sound alarming or serious than it should; this is because people settle for what is laid in front of them. It is the psychological element of advertisements that drive people to favor their urge to purchase fast food chain products with a little to no recognition of how these kinds of food will affect their health in the long run. Certainly, advertising agencies would also try hard to put in the right elements to their ads in order for them to captivating and convincing to the potential customer; thus, the issues of safety and health-friendliness of their ads may not be as critical to them as to those who are health conscious. Probably because they are too hungry to care or maybe they just don’t care at all. Some people care but only talks and complain about their food at the table, not to the manager or the one in charge. Some people do talk to the manager but takes it way too seriously often leading to violence. As disregarded this may seem, advertisements should live up to their word. If they say one bite of this taco will, transport you to heaven, and then by all means, it should, otherwise they should think of changing the slogan into a more realistic one.
Consumers deserve to get the food exactly as it’s shown in the advertisement. They pay the exact amount of money, and maybe give tips for the service. The very least these fast food chains could do is to live up to the expectations of the customers and serve them, if not exactly as what’s shown in the ad, but close enough to make their eyes and stomach satisfied.
The effect might not be physical, but it can be very psychological. A woman might not dine in Burger King again if her Whopper looked like someone just sat on it. She might look at it, probably in disgust, and then eat it for whatever her money’s worth and then swear to herself never to dine with the King. See? BK just lost a customer there. Now, this would look like a potential gain to its competitors.
One effect it may also cause to the consumers would be trust issues. Now, once trust is broken, it can never be regained again. Probably over time, but never the same trust twice. This would also cause a domino effect to the consumers. One consumer would tell his other consumer friends not to dine in that specific eatery again because their meals sucked in real life compared to what they had in ads. That eatery just doubled its loss.
Now, how to handle these tricked-by-an ad situations?
A guy from Mediocre Films in YouTube did an experiment called “Fast Food Ads VS Reality Experiment.” He went into famous fast food chains and ordered meals. Most of the meals served to him at first were dry, and sad-looking; very far from what they looked like in ads. What he did was he went back to the counter, showed them the picture of the food they had on the advertisement, and politely asked them to do it again. Surprisingly, the second try was much better. They gave him close to what was in the advertisement.
The video showed that you can actually ask for your meal to be redone if it’s not to your liking. It is the fast food chain’s job to live up to their consumer’s expectations, and that’s what they should have in mind every time they serve meals to customers if they expect them to keep coming back for more of that scrumptious-looking meal, not just in ads, but also in reality. Fast food chains have always been in constant look out for competitions and they are lavishly using various forms of media to promote their products and advance their commercial cause. Media advertisements connote a much critical reason to ask for a sense of human responsibility from fast food chain companies to not only provide quality products and services but to also make sure that they are putting the health and safety of the public at the top of their priority.
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Legal Information Institute (1992). 15 U.S. Code § 54 - False advertisements; Penalties.
Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/54
Mediocre Films (2014). Fast Food Ads vs. Reality Experiment. Retrieved from
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