Tag Archives: False advertising

How to hold onto your money, using logic

3 Jul

Advertisers count on the fact that we don’t understand basic logic! 

They appeal to our desire to be like the ‘beautiful people’. And we fall for their offer to transform our ordinary lives into something more exotic, like the people we admire.

Take for instance the lucrative business of make-up.  What woman DOESN’T want to look better?  So we fall for emotional appeals to browse Sephora or use a product, convinced that if we do, we’ll look more like our favorite model/actress.

Here’s what these companies count on.  They make a statement like:

·         All models use La-di-dah Lipstick

What goes unstated explicitly (but they count on you to implicitly absorb it) is the false corollary:

·         All women who use La-di-dah Lipstick (just might end up being gals who…) are models

In symbolic form that is saying

·         All S is P……All P is S         where  S = Women who use LL   and             P = Models

But one CAN’T just interchange the subject and the predicate and have the converse be true.
Let’s suppose that Cindy wants to look like her favorite model who uses La-di-dah Lipstick.  She believes the advertising and emotionally responds with the belief, ” If I buy and use La-di-dah Lipstick, maybe I’ll be a model too!”

Unfortunately, the advertisers have NOT given Cindy enough information in their claim for her to know if this is true.

Here’s what the first proposition (claim)  and our dilemma look like:

All models use LLAnswering that question in the above diagram: “No, we do NOT know to which group Cindy belongs if she uses their product L.L.”

 You can easily see for yourself that the two propositions are not equivalent if you just switch the S and the P

  All women who use LL are modelsThis drawing shows that all women who use La-di-dah Lipstick are in fact models.  Remember, the diagrams are different and the marketing claims are different.  ( in fact – our advertisers will NOT state the latter, that All women who use their product will be models – they can’t guarantee that at all!)

But as I said above, marketing  managers want to by-pass your rational mind and get  right at your emotions in order to pry your fingers off of your hard-earned money and invest it in your pipe-dream, courtesy of their product!

Your homework for the week – watch for and see if you can spot the implicit lies bandied about in commercials, either on TV or in print.  Let us know of a particularly blatant one!