While we at Rock Candy Media truly believe in and root for our clients, there’s no denying that advertising can be a cynical business. A TV show that beat that drum for eight years just ended, on the most cynical note possible. Not every ad agency can be as pure of heart as RCM, which is why we’re doing you a service and pointing out industries and products that even advertisers like ourselves are skeptical of.
You wouldn’t know if from the packaging and advertising, but sunscreen is a pretty controversial product. There was no definitive proof that it even protected you from skin cancer until 2011. Common wisdom, like the idea that higher SPF sunscreens provide protection many times greater than lower SPF products, is not backed by science at all. SPF 50 protects one percent more than SPF 30, but advertisers can point to that 50 and say that the 50 is much more protective and therefore should cost more to buy. It also creates a false sense of security, since SPF measures protection from UVB rays, while your skin can still be harmed by UVA rays.
Cosmetic manufacturers pay big bucks to convince you that all you need for glowing skin, perfectly white teeth or a full head of hair is their product. With the answer to permanent beauty so simple, it seems weird that most people remain afflicted with wrinkles, stained teeth, and receding hairlines. If one of these products really delivered on their promises, wouldn’t we just accept it as the standard and use it? Beyond the fact that these products promise efficacy they can’t deliver, they also manipulate people by preying on their insecurities. If you feel bad about yourself, no cream is going to fix that.
With cigarettes now mostly stamped out, soda stands as advertising’s greatest triumph. Soft drinks ruin your teeth, make you gain weight and have no nutritional value. The only thing soda has going for it is that it tastes good (until 20 minutes after you have one and you feel terrible). Yet, advertisers have not just convinced you that soda is something you should drink regularly, they’ve gone a step further and convinced you that it’s something you should have an emotional attachment to. Whether it’s via bears or pop stars or Santa Claus, soft drinks haved used the power of advertising to become an indelible part of Americana. It’s why every kitschy diner is plastered with throwback soda ads. Don’t buy it people!!!
Don’t get us wrong, advertising is necessary. How else are people going to find out about your great new product? Just remember it’s possible to sell yourself, without selling your soul.