The Honest Truth of Advertising

Article by Livecom Admin.

17th October 2022

We’ve all heard the claims. One car is the best four wheel drive on the market. A particular toothpaste will leave your teeth whiter than white. A diet pill will shave 5kgs off your waistline. And the claims are all well and good until your order arrives and, well, the face cream doesn’t make you look quite like a Hollywood celebrity.

As brands, it’s time to be honest. Brutally so.

We’re living in an age of growing cynicism. Telling it like it is in your ads – even if you’re admitting that, “You know what? We’re not actually the best.” – is a sure fire way to win over consumers. This, in turn, increases sales and brand equity.

So what do we need to be honest?

  1. Bravery

Work for an agency? Exploring the shortcomings of a product won’t damage a brand. It builds trust with consumers. When people trust advertising, they trust the product or service it’s selling. We need to pitch unexpected ideas. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

  1. Reflection

This is a tough one. If you’re a brand manager, take a long, hard look at your product or service. Nothing is perfect and it’s a good exercise to identify flaws. Reflecting on your product will reveal the weaknesses that you can capitalise on.

  1. Balance

When we say “be honest,” we don’t mean, “speak negatively about your brand.” We’re just promoting humility every now and then. It’s okay to point out your strengths too. Just stay away from exaggeration; people see straight through it.

Our belief in honesty drove our most recent ISUZU Women’s Month campaign. We didn’t knock the brand. We didn’t depict the brand in a bad light. We just recognised that women – not other car brands – top us when it comes to admirable qualities.

Have a look.

And we’re not the only ones who live by this. Smart brands have created honest advertising that is charming, surprising, and trustworthy for years.

Remember Avis’ “We’re number 2” ads?

Or what about KFC’s “FCK” campaign?

Then there’s Dominos Pizza’s “Turnaround” spot.

And, of course, Radioshack’s “Phone call” commercial.

Honesty comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s apologizing for a mistake. Other times it’s pointing out an imperfection. Whatever it looks like for your brand, we say, “Go for it.”


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