buyer beware

Q2 Truth in Advertising Step 1

19. Buyer Beware


Everywhere we look there are advertisements for products. If we are doing research on a topic, we soon have ads pop up on our phones, our online games, and social media websites about the topic. Advertisements are taking over, we need to learn how to determine the validity of the ad and the product. 

It is against the law for companies to mislead or deceive us about their products but companies 0have found ways to make it difficult for them to be taken to court.  We are fortunate to have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC is an independent U.S. government  agency that protects consumers.  They help ensure a competitive market by enforcing consumer protection and antitrust laws.

1.  Think about how many times you have seen advertisements that reflect one or more of the below to persuade you to purchase their product or service.

  • Bait-and-Switch is when a company advertises a product or service it never intends to provide.
  • Misleading photos or illustrations are used to easily sway the consumer to buy their great-looking product to look or feel better. 
  • Price Deception is when the company uses means to trick the consumer into thinking they are paying a lower price for the product. 
  • Unsubstantiated Claims are when (in example) the advertisement suggests to take a this pill for 30 days and the consumer will lose 20 pounds without exercising. There are no facts to back up or substantiate this advertisement. 
  • Comparison Inconsistency is when a business says their product is comparable to brand-name products without sufficient evidence. 

2. Watch the YouTube video below on the left. Title: Bait and Switch, (1:41) as a class and discuss any examples that come to mind that may have happened to you or your parents. 

3. Using the Truth in Advertising Techniques Examples Worksheet, work alone, in pairs, or together as a class.  Discuss the advertising techniques that are used to persuade us to purchase their product or service. Every advertisement uses one or more techniques to make its product more appealing. 

4. Watch the YouTube video (Direct Link)  "What Happens When You Order A $29 Mini Laptop From A Facebook Ad?" (4:49)

5. You have learned about the different techniques that advertisers use to appeal to the consumer. Your next step is to create your own advertisement to share with your teacher and your classmates. 

MITECS Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

1. Empowered Learner
c. Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways
d. Understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies

2. Digital Citizen
a. Cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world
b. Engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices
d. Manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online

5. Computational Thinker
b. Collect data or identify relevant data sets