The Pitfalls of Language Manipulation in Marketing: Why Authenticity is Key

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was recently watching Hulu when a Pampers commercial caught my attention. The commercial promised “UP TO 100% leak-free night” with their new product, and I couldn’t help but feel skeptical. It seemed like a classic example of language manipulation, a tactic used by many companies to try to manipulate consumers into buying their products. I wondered, do these companies think that consumers are so gullible that they’ll believe anything?

As a brander, I understand the importance of developing a strong brand and crafting messages that resonate with consumers. But using language to manipulate consumers can actually backfire and ruin a brand’s reputation. Consumers are not stupid; they can see through the tactics and may even feel insulted that a company thinks they are gullible enough to fall for it.

Language manipulation is the practice of using language in a way that is designed to manipulate or influence people’s thoughts and behavior. It’s a common tactic used by companies to create an emotional connection with consumers and make their products seem more desirable. But not all companies use language manipulation effectively. If done poorly, it can backfire and lead to negative consequences for the brand. Consumers can feel deceived or manipulated, leading to a loss of trust and loyalty.

A prime example of this is McDonald’s in the 1990s. The slogan “Super Size Me” encouraged customers to purchase larger portions of their menu items. While the slogan may have seemed catchy and fun, it ultimately had negative consequences for the brand. The documentary “Super Size Me” exposed the health risks associated with eating fast food, and McDonald’s was forced to eliminate the Super Size option and revise their marketing strategies.

On the other hand, some companies use language manipulation effectively to create a positive and authentic brand image. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, for example, used empowering language to challenge traditional beauty standards and promote body positivity. The campaign resonated with consumers and helped to build a loyal following for the brand.

As a consumer and marketer, I believe that language manipulation can ultimately backfire and ruin a brand’s reputation. When building a brand, companies should strive to use language that is truthful and authentic, rather than relying on wordplay or misleading claims. By building a brand with integrity and authenticity, companies can create a strong emotional connection with consumers and build a loyal following.


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