Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Consumer Product Companies:
Charmingly Fresh or Naturally Deceptive?

“The art of pleasing is the art of deception.”
~ Luc de Clapiers
“The art of pleasing is the art of deception.”
~ Luc de Clapiers

The issue of product labelling is not a new one. Packaged goods companies have resisted the use of honest straightforward language in advertising and on product labels for decades.

The whole controversy around GMO labelling of products is the episode of the legal language merry-go-round. And it’s not our intention to get into that debate here. Rather, we want to focus on some of the more “benign” and sneaky uses of language which permeate the consumer landscape.

The above video shows just how clever and slippery companies are about the use of terms which have very specific definitions. Without being redundant, it’s our belief that companies using the term “fresh” this loosely to describe their products are far from being endearingly “fresh” (as in when a man or woman is being forward, flirtatious or bold).

There’s another favourite catch-all word for marketers: “natural,” “all natural,” “naturally,” etc. Combined with beautiful graphics of plants, animals, landscapes, water and of course the ubiquitous colour “GREEN,” the result is a plethora of products with lousy labels.

So pervasive is the practice of misleading or outright deceptive marketing, advertising and packaging of so-called “environmentally, wholesome, holistic” products that a whole new term was coined to describe the practice: GREENWASHING.

Image: What would Andy Warhol say about Campbell’s Greenwashed Soup?

Why do they do it? Why do companies insist on misleading and deceptive labelling, especially when it comes to trying to improve the impression of their product as fresh, natural, healthy, eco-friendly, etc? Is it possible that they’re just naturally deceptive…but downright pathological?

Video: THE CORPORATION [6/23] The Pathology of Commerce

We’ll leave the ultimate judgment in your hands. But judge wisely…with your dollar and your voice. Otherwise, the power will naturally remain in the hands of the pathologically deceptive.

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