Recently in the UK there has been a bit of an uproar about Colgate and its infamous ads. I’m sure most of you can picture just about any tooth-related adverts – they always happen to show models with the pearliest whites and toothpaste that looks so good that you just want to eat it (although flouride is bad for you – so don’t do it!)
Colgate’s long-standing claim that more than 80 per cent of dentists recommend its toothpaste is “misleading” and must never be used again, the advertising watchdog has ruled.
The claim was sparked by competing toothpaste companies which claimed that the same percentage of dentists interviewed recommended their differentiated product – thus bringing up the notion that Colgate had lied.
It IS understandable why companies do these things though. All of them have financial and social goals which they have to meet. Brand loyalty and convincing the customer to purchase their products instead of from their competitors is fundamental in ensuring repeat success. Sales must be maximised and profit margins must be reached to ensure good economic growth for the company.
But should these aims entail the use of lying to attract customers?
It’s a question of morality and ethics. If you want your business to be based on lies and deceit for the quick buck then it’s up to you, but as we’ve found out here, there will always be negative consequences – once the word gets out, the media can ruin your business and your livelihood.
A fantabulous example is that of Jade Goody who went into the Celebrity Big Brother house for the 2nd time. The first time she managed to cause a rift and escaped with huge criticism – her PR people did wonders to turn that around. This time, she hasn’t been so lucky. Accusations of racism and bullying have turned Britain against her and we’re embarrassed to associate ourselves with the self-proclaimed star.
Back to the matter in hand – public image is everything. Ask Jade whether she would have wanted to look like a villain when she left the house, a swift answer of “no” would have been heard. The same applies to Colgate – a poor public image caused my deceitful marketing tactics is likely to have negative consequences and its the image of a treacherous company which will stay with people the longest.
One last example. When was the last time you went into McDonalds and ordered a Big Mac which didn’t look half as good as the juicy one you saw in the advert?
Food for thought…(no pun intended).