In todays world, the outbreak of the newest social media, new artificial intelligence and new opportunity reformed the marketing and advertising landscape towards the industry to conduct its own business. In order to keep up with this constant change, many companies use deceptive advertisement in their products to lure people outside their door to buy their products, to increase their commercial sales. It uses advertisements that appeal to the emotions, insecurity, and ignorance of the audiences. Those ads are meant to give people with truthful information to inform customers about the new products, but some ads use a deceptive advertisement to attract their audiences, which has become a matter of concern.
In this paper, I will outline McDonald’s and Revlon’s go-to make-up as an example of deceptive advertisement and how they make their advertisement so appealing to its customers. Secondly, I will convey that this advertisement used a different kind of fallacies to target their audience. Thirdly, I will suggest that not only is deceptive advertising unethical, but it also beneficial for the company in the long run.
A speech act is the act of communication utilizing verbally or non-verbally to convey premises and conclusions (Groarke & Tindale, 2013, p. 455). It uses compelling music, images, and other non-verbal images to lure people into supporting their claims (Groarke & Tindale, 2013, p.148). Furthermore, one most common speech act used in a marketing campaign is advertising. Advertising is an act of communication to seize public attention to one’s product to urge more customers; hence, commercial morality is defined as a principle govern between one-on-one dealing with its buyer (Moriarty, 2017).
Most of the advertisements consist of clothing, whitening products, foods and cars that people want to desire and needed. Moreover, advertising can provide them with the need for information to fulfil their desires.
McDonald’s is one of the second-largest fast-food chains globally. This company achieves its desired success to become a top fast-food chain by using advertisement as a marketing strategy. Looking at the McDonalds advertisement reproduced in Illustration 1.1 “OVER 99 BILLION SERVED” was addressed to the audience all over the world who are McDonald’s customers, those skeptical or reluctant into trying McDonald’s foods. An audience is an individual or a group whom an argument is directed, which are inclined to agree or opposed to a given proposition (Groarke & Tindale, 2013, pp. 19-20). This claim suggests that people should try their food because of its popularity, which appears to be a bandwagon. Bandwagon is a common fallacy based on the assumption that the opinion of the majority is always valid; that is, everyone believes it, so they ought to as well (Wrenn, 2019). This also claims that people should go here often because everyone does. Moreover, this advertisement seems to be adequate for its audience because McDonald’s company owns two-thirds of the worldwide fast-food chain. Furthermore, one common fallacy observed is the use of the fallacy of equivocation. According to Liam Dempsey (2007), “fallacy of equivocation is committed when someone uses a key of word in two or more senses in the same argument depends on the shift of the meaning” (p. 124). The claims on this slogan are dubious that it misleads the society to believe that this company serves 99 billion people. Nevertheless, these claims have no evidence that it is even true cause we do not know if 99 billion served enjoyed their food and service. For decades, McDonald’s appears to be ethically active in its society because this company seems to involve with their customer and communities. However, for some reason, the diet that this company offers contributes to different kinds of diseases. Overall, McDonald’s company is misleading its audience by this false advertising strategy.
Also, one commonly fallacy used in the advertisement is a false dilemma, “a fallacy that gives them only two choices when, in fact, there are more than two” (Dempsey, 2007, p.123). In the phrase “skin appears poreless, smooth, in multiple shades made for you” targets all types of women with every skin type in Revlons go-to make-up. According to Cross, “propaganda is the means of persuasion of tricking people and distracting them to a certain way,” which means propaganda is used to disguises an issue to mislead people, through persuasion (Academicscope, 2018). Revlons go-to make-up as The Revolution Weightless Foam Foundation shows that people have two options, it is either buy the product and be gorgeous as Emma Stone or do not buy it and look terrible with another foundation. This claim shows an appeal to authority fallacy, a fallacy of relying on the opinion of someone who seems to be an expert, but, is not (Groarke & Tindale, 2013, p. 450) On the contrary, there are more numerous options available. Rationally thinking, the image of Emma Stone displayed a perfect figure of a woman who is highly respectable, professional and dignified. Looking gorgeous with her matching shade foundation gives the confidence to display herself in public. Hence, Emma Stone may be a celebrity, and being a celebrity does not make her an expert on topics such as foundation or any make-up sets. She was used as a mere figure to attract customers to buy the products, mostly by her look. Nevertheless, this advertisement is compelling to its buyer because it helps women who are anxious and insecure about their looks and beauty, turning them into a different person which is fundamentally fallacious. One of Kantian claim that deceiving others is disrespectful to them, use of them as a mere means (Rachels, 1986, p.1). When we think it is right to use them, when in fact it is not. Kants claim that humanity should be treated always an end, and never as means only, for analyzing human intelligence is the core of the commercial transactions. In advertising, people may attempt to deceive, cheat or exploits consumers to gain an edge success, leading to violation of human dignity (Rachels, 1986, p.1). Therefore, companies such as McDonald and Revlon use deceptive advertising in the form of persuasion to make people buy their products: to satisfy their desires of needs for something that is not necessary for their life.