Whereas some athletes dip into performance enhancing drugs on the sly to boost their results (and not to besmirch all sports here as I am thinking primarily of baseball, swimming, tennis, track and field, football, hockey, golf, cycling or any sport that requires endurance, explosive power or super-human recovery), some advertisers turn to over-claim, creative reshaping of the truth and outright lies.
No point denying it: it happens. Regulatory bodies are in place to challenge the ethics of both groups but many fouls go unchallenged.
Often the risk of detection is considered acceptable for the rewards. But being caught out soils the reputation of every other competitor and creates a cynical and distrustful public.
They also share a similar strategy if detected: deny, deny, deny.
Some athletes get caught red-handed and have no choice but to recant or do time. But you will never see an advertiser come clean. They will spin a web of innocence until the public either forgets or votes with their feet.
The most recent advertiser to come under scrutiny is Tropicana orange juice, a subsid of PepsiCo. They are being sued, surprisingly, by a consumer for misrepresenting their product as “100% pure and natural”, when, it’s alleged, they actually add aromas and flavours. Tropicana has even used the recognizable imagery of a straw sticking into an orange to get their all-natural claim to stick in the public mind.
Reading Tropicana’s response to news of the lawsuit will give you a sense of how advertisers might manipulate the truth.
I have no idea if they are being deceitful or not. That’s for the judge – and you – to decide.