How is “Puffery” Killing Brand Reputations?

By Richard Smith

For marketers, brand promotions are quite common. While it is imperative to create higher levels of interest among customers and audience, there are times when certain facts and figures are exaggerated and presented in a twisted manner. Brand promotions come in varied shapes and sizes where marketers look to promote the best features, fix negative perceptions and add versions that would pull in more people.

However, quite recently, a negative marketing move is doing rounds which aims at presenting twisted facts about a service or product— in order to lure customers and boost their interest levels. Better termed as ‘Puffery’— this marketing technique is slowly but steadily penetrating the brand vicinities— causing more harm than good.

Puffery— The Definition

Red Bull doesn’t actually give us wings but Puffery is something that makes this statement look catchy and resonating enough. In simpler terms, Puffery is more of a promotional statement that is subjective in nature and shouldn’t be taken seriously. More often than not, Puffery claims a product to the best in the business and things can readily get unbelievable at times.

However, most customers are wise enough to disregard majority of these claims and the only good thing that comes out of Puffery is the fun associated with the statements. Certain brands include the same as slogans which in turn are accepted gleefully. At the end, it all depends on how someone uses Puffery and to what extent things can be stretched— without breaking the ethical barriers.

Why Puffery Still Works?

There are instances when Puffery has been accepted as a necessary evil. This is one marketing trick that still works well— provided the exaggeration isn’t beyond user comprehension. Certain claims which over-emphasize traits are good to look at while there are instances when the wallet gets enticed hearing about the money which can be saved.

Puffery-driven marketing campaigns are small and less complex. Moreover, the slogans associated with them are tempting enough. It must be understood that restrained or moderated Puffery can work well and once things get out of control— the same concept ends up being considered a scam or rather a false advertising campaign.

Enlisting the Legal Issues and Associated Risks

Issues like these have already been vindicated under the ‘Lanham Act’ drafted in 1946. However, most companies have recently adjusted strategies in order to comply with the marketing norms. Even then, violations show up which in turn end up in massive lawsuits.

One such example would be the $13 million lawsuit against Red Bull. While it was certainly not against the ‘Gives You Wings’ slogan, this lawsuit aimed at a claim made by the company— stating that drinking the same improves reaction speeds and even the concentration. While this couldn’t be scientifically proven, the company still believes this to be true.

This issue readily brings us to the aspect of false advertising claims and how dangerous it can be to put forth something without generic repercussions. The likes of Red Bull might improve reaction speeds but the results aren’t generic and might Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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