Special Lecture on Misleading Advertisements
BELIGHT, the Student Consumer Club organized a Special Lecture on ‘Misleading Advertisements’ in the Conference Hall, MSSW on June 30th 2017 at 2.30 p.m. Around 75 participants from UG (BSW, BSc Psychology) and PG (MA-DM) participated in the special lecture.
The session was compeered by Ms. Kezia of I MA (DM). The programme started with the Tamil Thai Valzhthu followed by Ms. Maria of I MA (DM) welcomed the gathering of enthusiastic students and faculty from other departments. Dr. V. Sumathy, Assistant Professor, Quaid-E-Milath College was the resource person of the day. II MA (DM) Mr. Gnanavignesh introduced the Resource person to the audience. Having 24 years of teaching experience, Dr. V. Sumathy was the Faculty Coordinator of Citizen Consumer Club of Ethiraj College which bagged the Best Citizen Club in Tamil Nadu for five consecutive years.
Dr. V. Sumathy started her presentation with a simple question of what does advertisements means? She highlighted that Advertisements are the best medium for manufactures to influence their consumer and pushes them to buy their product. The main objective of the lecture was to create awareness among student community and to be sensitive about different forms of misleading ads that prevails in today’s media. The resource person broke the mystery of how a simple add turns into misleading add through short video on Dettol add whose tag is ‘All mom’s trust only Dettol’. This tagline gives the idea that mother who trusts Dettol as epitome of motherhood and pointing others as awful misleading the viewer’s concern feeling.
Given the taste of misleading advertisements the session moved on to different forms of Misleading of Advertisements such as Surrogate advertising,Puffery,Exaggeration,Unverified claims,Women stereotyping, Misrepresentation of women, Use of children in advertisements and Comparative advertisements.
Dr. Sumathy indicated that Surrogate advertising is a form of advertisement which is used to promote banned products like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another products. Through this way the manufacturer ensures the legal obligation at a same time finds indirect way such as title sponsor to assure the visibility of the brand in people’s mind. Example Kingfisher premium add.
Advertising that makes broad exaggerated or boastful statements about a product or service that are subjective is defined as Puffery ads. Dr. Sumathi screened ads of Kellogg’s, Aqua fresh and raised questions such as “How best is Kellogg’s as it claims?”This made students to think.
Exaggeration is a representation of something in an excessive manner which often uses false information. To be more precise the picture of Volkswagen brand appeared and enquired about it. This made the session more interactive as students chanted the exaggerated taglines of the brands projected which also includes institutional scams, Apple’s SIRI app and Red bull whose tagline says “Red Bull gives you wings”, as impossible to human misleading the consumers.
Unverified claims are advertisements which are medically not proven. Advertisements of Cosmetics brand, energy drinks misleads the consumer and persuades them to purchase their product through unverified claims.
She added that Women stereotyping is another form of false advertisement where women are portrayed as only capable of doing domestic works reinforcing gender stereotypes; in reality no longer women bound themselves within four walls, had proved their significance in every field they get into. Next to stereotyping misrepresentation of women prevails more in today’s add which objectify women.
Use of children in advertisements has its own impact on children exploiting them with false beliefs making it unethical. Another form of misleading ads is Comparative advertisements which leaves consumer in confusion. Ongoing war between Amul vs kwality walls in the name of ‘only dairy product’ vs. Frozen dessert, Complain vs Horlicks, Colgate vs Pepsodent compare each other continuously in direct and indirect ways. The resource person asked to expand FSSAI which every consumer should be aware of. While students tried to decipher it a bold voice said Food Safety and Standards Authority of India which belong to Dr. Amirtha Mary proving the active participation of faculties in the session who also earned a smilie from the chief guest. In addition to eight basic forms of Misleading Advertisements Dr. Sumathi shed light on Insensitive ads common in today’s society. To understand in detail video of ‘Beating the retreat’, fevikwick ad and Banned Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial was screened. The former mocks the ritual of flag ceremony and patriotism where as the later trivialized rights protests and public unrest in United States.
The discussion moved on to next segment enlightening the consumer’s role .Websites of Department of Consumer affairs (www.consumeaffairs.nic.in), The Advertising Standards Council of India (www.ascionline.org), Civil Service and Consumer protection Department (www.consumer.tn.gov.in) were introduced to students encouraging them to be a active civilian.
Following the session, Honorable President of MSSW Dr.A.M.Swaminathan, I.A.S (ret) offered his felicitations emphasizing necessity of advertisement, their misleading and consumer resistance towards it. He stated “the real social work protects the people from unethical misleading advertising and paves way for informative advertising”. Ms. Sarulatha of I MA (DM) delivered the vote of thanks by the National Anthem.
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