In 2009, 26 year old Vaibhav Bedi sued Hindustan Lever Limited the company that sold the AXE brand of grooming products for men. He claimed that the company had cheated him, caused him mental suffering and caused him significant financial loss, by misleading him about the effectiveness of Axe products.
Advertisements suggest that Axe products make men irresistible to women.
Vaibhav failed to attract any girls, even after regularly using Axe products for over seven years. However when his maid beat him with a broom, Vaibhav's patience had run out. All Vaibhav was trying to do, was to impress the maid, by appearing naked in front of her after applying various Axe products.
Vaibhav Bedi is not alone. Billions of people are routinely misled. This deception is dignified by calling it creative marketing. It is employed by most big manufacturers and marketeers, with complicity by the media of course who are always ready to make a buck.
Rich, famous, powerful and beautiful, many of them play the endorsement game. A foreign accent makes it all even better.
In polite society it is called 'endorsement'.
In developed economies typically 1.1 to 1.55% of a country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is spent on advertising and informing or in many cases misinforming. In India Advertising spend per year is approximately 0.4% of GDP worth Rs 16,000 Crores (US$ 2.6 Billion)
Of course there are many great products and services that are crying to be heard. However most products are not what they are presented as. There is a sucker born every minute, who clever people manipulate and exploit with ease.
Where did this concept of endorsement come from?
By Appointment to Her Majesty ........
The clever British are credited with creating the concept of endorsement for commercial purposes. The earliest recorded British royal charter was granted to the Weavers’ Company in 1155 by Henry II of England.
'Royal warrants of appointment' have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to senior members of the British Royal Family.
Buyers automatically formed the opinion, that if a certain product or service used by a member of the royal family, it had to be good..
The warrant is typically advertised on company hoardings, letter-heads and products by displaying the coat of arms or the heraldic badge of the royal personage as appropriate. Underneath the coat of arms will usually appear the phrase "By Appointment to..." followed by the title and name of the royal customer, and then what goods are provided.
This concept has been adopted across the world and royalty have been replaced by actors, sports-persons, etc, often by people who have no clue on what they are endorsing and delivered to the public through television, film, magazines, newspapers and now the internet.
Endorsements is a fantastic concept, unfortunately it has degenerated into 'spin'. Some recent incidents have indicated that the endorsers and the manufacturers along with the media cannot be trusted.
Is there any reason to question why advertising revenues and credibility of endorsers, media, are at an all time low and plummeting rapidly?