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Thread: Advertising: how it uses and abuses science, affecting us all

  1. #1 Advertising: how it uses and abuses science, affecting us all 
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    I am doing a graduate diploma in science communication, and looking at the ways in which advertising and science interact. I feel that the abuse of science by marketers and advertisers is one of the greatest forces in undermining the value of science. When marketers make rubbish claims under the guise of 'science', it is the reputation and credibility of science that suffers. Check out my blog if you're interested in the issue. Join the discussion!

    Blog: Sci-vertising


    Last edited by wonkyj; September 18th, 2011 at 12:20 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    I liked the chemical free chemistry set.


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  4. #3  
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    I laughed so hard when I found, I genuinely felt light-headed. It's some crazy interplay of scientific misunderstanding, safety obsession and litigation gone mad!
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    You have to accept that advertising is about selling products, not about promoting science.

    They will tell whatever lies are necessary, and if at some future date they are caught out in a lie and forced to change their advert, so what? They may have made £100 million in the meantime thanks to people believing that lie.

    The UK's Daily Mail (which is online) has come up a number of times with a selection of deliberate lies and false claims in advertising products. From yesterday:


    Health drinks that don't live up to the hype | Mail Online


    The biggest lies in advertisers come from the biggest liars, politicians. Remember the 45 minute lie used to start an illegal war?
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    I do accept that advertising is about selling products (because that's just definitionally true), but I do not HAVE to accept that in doing so it is acceptable for it to lie. Applying for a job is all about selling myself, doesn't mean I can pretend to have a PhD in astrophysics just because it would better achieve the outcome of selling myself. it would be wrong, and I should be censured for it.

    And advertisers don't just sell products and make money, they sell ideas, and in doing so create non-real problems and non-real solutions. In doing so they can seriously hurt people. That's why the truth about climate change is in tatters. Advertisers have created a hysterical non-real problem around 'terrifying, deathly germs lurking everywhere to kill you'. They are creating a generating floundering through an epidemic or allergies and autoimmune diseases because they're been raised in environments that are too hygienic and been taught to fear 'GERMS!!!!!!'. Not to mention people dying from leaving behind scientifically evidence medical treatment for alternative treatments, and people believing that electric cars give out no emissions, when in reality the emissions are simply being put out at the pwer plant, instead of the exhaust pipe. Or the anti-vaccination debacle that's killing people.

    The 'so what' is that these advertisers are very rarely caught, very rarely corrected and very rarely bothered by those who should be scrutinising them properly. Scientists are (rightly) dishonoured, stripped of titles and thrown out of the profession in disgrace if they are caught in the even the slightest lie with respect to their results. Yet no such scrutiny for such blattent, repetitive lies of advertisers and marketers. I, as a civilian, can be criminally punished for fraud, slander, libel, criminal inpersonation and countless other forms of 'lying'. 99% of the time, these guys get squat. And are often defended by the authorities meant to scrutinise them on the grounds that they're 'appealing to common public understandings'. Appealing to common public MISunderstandings (typically created or at least nurtured by them) doesn't make a lie more valid or less immoral.

    And for the 1% that anybody bothers to do anything about. Rarely any actual punishment, just a request to change an ad, the campaign for which is most likely over by then. It's a disgrace.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberia View Post

    The UK's Daily Mail (which is online) has come up a number of times with a selection of deliberate lies and false claims in advertising products.
    Irony overload there. The Daily Mail are considered one of the most unreliable and misleading media sources in the world, particularly when it comes to science reporting.
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