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Truth in Taglines?

I paid close attention to the advertising campaigns that aired during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many of the campaigns fell in line with a trend that disturbs me greatly. We have a law for Truth in Advertising, and it covers areas such as: deceptive pricing, use of the word "free," appliance labeling rules, environmental marketing, used car marketing, warranties, and many other topics. I couldn't find any item that covered outrageous psychological and spiritual claims--which is what many companies and their advertising agencies are making in those tiny little trademarked lines beneath a logo, company, or organization name.

Here are some taglines from the Olympics campaigns and more recent ones:

BMW is Joy.
Proctor and Gamble: Proud Sponsor of Moms
Hershey's Chocolate: Crafted for bliss
Chocolate is good for the soul (Pepperidge Farms)

And the latest one to rattle my cage is:
The American Cancer Society: Proud Sponsor of Birthdays

Whoa. The American Cancer Society has not, to date, come up with perfect cures, as anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer can tell you. And people with cancer do still die--a lot of them, in fact. Last year, 1,479, 350 Americans died of cancer. That's nearly 1.5 million birthdays that didn't happen. So, on a statistical basis, I find it a sickening display of the glibbest hubris that the American Cancer Society would even consider adopting this tagline. On a spiritual basis, it is nothing short of appalling. There is only one giver of birthdays, although this giver may be known by many different names and concepts. There is only one author of life, which, ultimately, issues from that which is both divine and mysterious.

My soul does not need chocolate.
Bliss does not contain emulsifiers and is not made in Pennsylvania.
Joy is both too swift and too grand to be captured by any automobile.
And Proctor and Gamble played no part in my motherhood--not in the joy or bliss of it, and not in the sweat and the tears of it.

I wonder how a revised Truth in Advertising law might address these untruthful taglines. In the meantime, we should make it a habit as media viewers, listeners, and imbibers not to toss off these one-liners as harmless (especially when the very young hear and see them). They are invasions into sacred territory, nothing less, and they represent a time and space when we need to bar the gates.

Text and image, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa, all rights reserved.


Anonymous said…
I like your blog!
Thank you, Anónimo. That means a lot. Best, Ysabel

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