Nineteenth-century humorist Stephen Leacock once said that advertising is “the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” In a society in which advertising – lies, basically – is the standard, it’s a shame that Americans are still so impervious to the deception they face every single day in print and digital advertising, billboards – and especially infomercials. These advertising films bearing lie after lie after lie serve to promote a product in an informative and supposedly objective style. But it’s possibly the most subjective thing a person hears all day, and the everyday person – well, a “consumer” in this case – should not believe every word (or even most of what they are being told) in an infomercial.
To begin with, one should always be skeptical of what an infomercial tells them because the video is fundamentally an advertisement – and advertisements generally lie, or at least embellish. Advertisements exploit the emotions of the viewer, the potential buyer, into thinking the product being promoted is the best thing ever made, an item that will make their lives better longer, solve all their problems and heal their illnesses; the be-all, end-all item – the product everyone will be soon be buying! In other words, it’s one big lie. Now, of course, some infomercials will tell fewer lies than others, and some of them may actually serve to truly help people. Nonetheless, advertisements generally always embellish in some way or another, so they should never be trusted entirely.
One should generally be skeptical of what an infomercial tells them, regardless of how great and perfect and awesome it sounds because they cannot test the product – most of the time – before purchasing it. The infomercial generally tells them to “buy now and save 25 percent off the whole price,” so they impulsively buy the item before considering its value and credibility – to see if it works, basically. The buyer has no way of knowing this if all they have to go by is the infomercial itself. They could be thinking they are buying a one-of-a-kind pair of sunglasses that protects them from ultraviolet sun rays, that cannot break or scratch. But they don’t know this is the case – not until they purchase them and see for themselves. The infomercial will make tons of promises validating what they are saying, but the consumer could never know for sure. This is one major reason a person should never believe every word of an infomercial: They have no way of telling if what they are being told about the product is true or not. They have to just rely on what the seasoned, greedy businessman is telling them; and that is never a smart way to make a purchase.
A person at home should never entirely trust what an infomercial tells them for another very important reason: if the item is as good as the infomercial says, the potential buyer will likely have already heard about it from another person – through word-of-mouth marketing, perhaps the oldest form of advertising in the world. If something works and people like it – consider the car, the Internet, Netflix, Apple computers, coffee, writing pens, almost anything – they will tell other people about it, and others will purchase the item, too. People believe friends and family members, and they are generally distrusting of salesmen. But, unfortunately, infomercials cater mostly to gullible, elderly women sitting at home, with nothing but a phone and credit card in their hand. They will believe anything.
In conclusion, infomercials should rarely be trusted in entirety; one should never believe all they are told in a video advertisement. One should never trust every word in any advertisement, either. Because they are not objective, because they can easily lie about a product’s value and workability, and because word-of-mouth advertising is always the best source of truth, the words of infomercials should not be believed – only looked at with utter skepticism. Not all advertisements are lies, of course, though many do embellish a product’s usefulness in order to convince the customer to buy this product. Once again, Stephen Leacock knew exactly what he was talking about when he postulated that advertising is nothing more than tricking people into taking their money. But it’s the way it is, perhaps the way it will always be; but people should still, nonetheless, be skeptical. One should never believe everything they are told.
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