An overwhelming majority of all information that is known to the public is errors, misleading and is based on biased results. It can be observed in advertisements, promotional campaigns, various kinds of surveys and statistical data. For instance, companies tend to plot some selected data in their graphs to show increasing performance, research agencies ask negative questions in order to confuse the customer and advertisements convince buyers to follow leading brands. Such techniques are close to psychological, because they manipulate human thinking.
Question 6 In an ad for moisturizing lotion, the following claim is made: “. . . it’s the #1 Dermatologist recommended brand.” What is misleading about the claim?
The main misleading thing about this claim is that the information about those dermatologists is unknown. The reader believes that a group of licensed dermatologists recommend some moisturizing lotion as the best in the category. Besides, the singular word “dermatologist” is used, so the reader could assume, that only one dermatologist suggests usage of this brand. Technically, only one person who gets paid for this advertisement could be mentioned in this message. Another misleading combination is “#1”, because no comparison characteristic is mentioned. Consumers are so used to hear and see similar messages to this, that they do not notice details. However, #1 could refer to anything, like the price, the level of moisture etc.
As it turns out, this advertisement doesn’t have any scientific evidence and has misleading claims. Most of people would believe that this is a top quality lotion, recommended by a special group of dermatologists, who have the right to decide. In reality, however, marketers or brand managers design this misleading claim.
Question 20 In recent article, the author states that 71% of adults do not use sunscreen. Although 71% is a large percentage, explain why this could be misleading?
There are not enough details in this message, which changes reader’s perception.
First of all, it is not clear how did the author collect this information and on basis of what.
Since the subject is “not using sunscreen” therefore we should know the reason for this. Why do those 71% of adults avoid using sunscreen, is it because of the shortage or alarm to fight skin cancer?
Another important detail to consider is when such situations happen, because the options are not limited to the sun. Perhaps, adults don’t use sunscreen at work, at night, on vacation or even when driving.
The author also didn’t explain the origin of this percentage. Statistics usually has some margin error, so 71% can be just an approximate number. Readers also don’t know the sample of the research, and it is very significant to conclusions. It is possible that this survey could take place in a completely inappropriate place, with not relevant people and reason. For example, 71% of British adults do not use sunscreen in a plane. The context of this article could make this claim more trustworthy, if supported by some relevant information.
After analyzing different techniques, such as misleading information and false claims, I learned to be more careful when reading such messages in advertisement campaigns and articles. Authors tend to exaggerate, round data and avoid giving more details in order to deceive and confuse readers. This assignment gave me more insight to compare true and false statements, thus be aware of possible lie. Authors of misleading claims try to create an illusion, which would enable them to reach own objective.