William Lutz explains that “New and Improved,” are the most frequently used words in advertising, according to author the product is commonly not new or improved, but changed insignificantly to legally use the term. Consumers must be aware of marketing strategies used to lure unsuspecting consumers into purchasing a product.
Author William Lutz states how we, the consumer, are misled by sneaky advertising tactics. He introduces the term “weasel words” (named after the weasel who steals egg yolks right from under the nose of the unsuspecting hen), he claims that the biggest weasel word used in advertising is “help” which actually means to aid or assist nothing more and it does not mean to conquer , stop, eliminate ,solve , cure .
The trick is that the claim that comes after the weasel word is usually so strong or dramatic and consumers forget the word “help”. Mr. Lutz states that these weasel words “helps to overcome” ,“helps to eliminate” ,”helps to stop……” could be found in many magazines and newspapers and listen in television and radio In the second example he quotes the term “new and improved,” which he claims is the most frequently used term in advertising.
He explains that legally, the word “new” is reserved for products under six months old, to lawfully use this word a product must have undergone a material functional change , he states. To accomplish this, companies add or change one minor detail about their product, then can claim the “new and improved” label. Mr. Lutz advises that as consumers, we ask ourselves “What was wrong with the old product? and “Is the old product less expensive?”
The author reveals several methods of misleading advertising in which the consumer is being deceived. He demonstrates that by using choice words and shying away from parities, marketers can get away with making claims that cannot be substantiated. He labels this method of advertising doublespeak. He explains that advertisers use every word in their ads and research the legalities of their wordage, knowing that generalizations will most likely not be challenged. He lists many “weasel words” like “extra”,”fresh”, “clean”, “beautiful” etc that the buyer should be aware of and questions we should ask ourselves when we see ads. He even states that every word in an ad is there for a reason and it’s the consumer responsibility to figure out what each word really means.