Half-Truths: The Costs of Unethical Marketing

Without trying to sound like the world’s worst critic of all marketing efforts out there today, it doesn’t take the average consumer long to identify products and services that fail to disclose the full truth in their overly produced advertisements.  Many companies invest significant amounts of money to create the most convincing and attractive ads with buzz words and imagery that will pique a viewer’s interest and compel them to take action.  This is very common in the industry and companies often believe you have to spend some money to make money.

Sure, this may sound innocent enough that they are using traditional marketing practices to earn a profit, right?  Of course!  However, when integrity and honesty are sacrificed in order to get people to respond, buyers often tend to do a one-eighty and then encourage others to steer clear of particular companies and their products or services as well.  Simply put, nobody likes being duped and will go to great lengths to expose such companies.

Ethics end up taking a back seat to profit goals, and consumers are unknowingly buying into something different than what they were told.

I present to you Naked Juice Co.’s “All Natural” line of juices.  What was long promoted as a healthy product without the nasty additives used by other companies, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. In this Naked Juice ad you’ll find some catchy wordsmithing… “Nothing To Hide” – “All Natural 100% Juice and Juice Smoothies”.  The unfortunate truth is that they were hiding things and not all ingredients in their products were actually natural.

It turns out that many people are overly health-conscious and quite passionate about consuming natural food and drinks.  Anything else may even be considered toxic and harmful to their body.  These same people are especially passionate about honest and accurate labels and ads involving healthy products.

As a result of the half-truths presented by Naked Juice, consumers and legal representatives teamed together to file a class-action lawsuit against the company to the tune of $9 million.  Individual consumers were eligible to submit a claim for damages ranging between $45 – $75 depending on proof of purchase.  For a large corporation like this the financial setback may not be significant, but will hopefully challenge their advertising techniques and those of any other companies considering similar unethical marketing practices.