The holiday shopping season has begun. That means that many businesses will be stepping up their advertising efforts in order to attract gift givers. The Better Business Bureau encourages business owners and managers to make certain that their advertising claims are not deceptive or misleading. The following checklist is offered to assist businesses in performing an internal advertising review:
- Does your advertising make your customers satisfied that they do business with you? Your advertising is just another outlet through which you can promote good will and customer loyalty.
- Are you avoiding impossible promises and guarantees? When using the term “guarantee” you should include a statement that complete details are available at the store, on the your Web site, or in the case of mail or telephone sales, are available free upon written request.
- Is your advertised merchandise readily available? You should have adequate supplies of merchandise on hand to meet expected demands.
- Do you intend to sell what you advertise? Do not participate in “bait and switch” tactics, which involve advertising a low-priced item to bring in customers, then taking the opportunity to persuade them to buy similar, but higher-priced items.
- Do your ads avoid misleading inferences? Misleading advertising is among the three questionable business practices that most adult consumers consider to be always wrong.
- Do your advertised terms agree with the facts? An advertisement as a whole may be misleading even though every sentence separately considered is literally true.
- Is your advertising easy to understand without asterisks and fine print? Asterisks should not be used as a means of contradicting or substantially changing the meaning of an advertising statement.
- Do you believe your own comparative pricing claims? You should be able to substantiate all claims made in the ad.
- Would you be attracted by what your ad says? If it is not attractive to you, it most likely will not be attractive to your customers.
The primary responsibility for truthful and non-deceptive advertising rests with you, the advertiser. For more information, refer to the BBB’s Code of Advertising. You can view a copy online at www.bbb.org/membership/codeofad.asp.