Political advertisements do little to advance choice

After all the weeks of political campaigning, it is a joy to see an ad for an automobile, a beer, a hamburger, a dishwashing detergent, even a medicine that has disastrous side effects.

The purpose of advertising, I like to believe, is to impart information. It generally tells me who is offering what, where, when and for how much. Not all those pieces of information are always present. Not all the information presented is always true. Misleading information or claims are common in advertising.

“The cleanest, brightest wash you’ll ever see!”

“The hair treatment that will make him/her notice, at last.”

“The movie that everyone is talking about.”

We are accustomed to exaggeration in advertising. We expect ads to be manipulative in nature, trying to get our attention and our favorable response to the message.

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