When Corporations Lie
Hard enough a question for a 10 year-old then; lies and lies and whispers of the sort is hardly distinguishable from a regular conversation. The line dividing a deliberate lie from an honest corporate mistake could be very thin, yet most newspaper-reading adults could know it. But then of course, how could a 10-year old know the difference.
I was ten I think, when I got to hold on to a softdrink brand's winning crown, "349", it says. It was my sister's lucky crown. It was supposed to win something like P100,000.00, which by the living standards of the 80's at P20-$1, would be alot of money. The promo was called "The Number Fever". The number 349 was announced as the winning number for May 25, 1992. Unfortunately hundreds of other customers have the same number. The confusion started when representatives of the cola company said they will only award one winner among all the crown holders. There was supposed to be a security code in the bottle cap.
It could be a mistake, a sabotage, anything in between; but the last statement - that damage control statement, that they will award only one is a controversial one.
How does one distinguish between a lie, a cover-up, damage-control, a PR statement, a public apology, a televised speech... the list goes on. We could have won, or maybe not. I don't think the bottle cap is preserved to this day --- I have to ask my sister. It should be a cola collectors item.
From that time on I was wary of consumers rights. As early as 2nd year high school, I was reading the 1992 Consumer Act of the Philippines. That by the 3rd of 4th year, I was part of a contest sponsored by the government to promote it. Apparently, that marketing campaign is working with me right now, as I still push people to fight for their rights as consumers.
Consider this example: A store does not show any price tag. You have to bargain to be even given a view of a price list. ---- Unless the item itself is too small for a tag, the price tag is a number 1 requirement. The point is, the price must be visible.
Now how many stores in Makati and Greenhills alone do not follow this rule? Most of the time, we consumers ask "Magkano or how much ", first. Bad move. Such an action establishes a "seller's market". That is, we create the demand first before the supply. This allows the seller to dictate the price and start negotiating higher than the actual value of the product. That means, without a price tag or a price list for a referrence, a computer shop can sell you a spare part for whatever it is you are ready to pay it for.
Another case of lying that sadly is prevalent is a marketing strategy. Almost false advertising. That is, selling a product at a ridiculously low, low price. After you check the product, you see that it is worthless, and defective. The salesmen then tells of you a different brand, but much more expensive. You, obviously content now, will be duped to buy the product at such a bloated price - - - even tag a premium on it.
Extra Ice to the brim on an already cold fast-food drink? You got to be kidding me. Reheating the same meal for the next day's serving? Claims of high technology and fastest product in the market but poor service? Say no to a text scam and still even after opting out, you get sent ten more messages --- in the middle of the night? Hello, not replying equals opting-out. Revenue, revenue, revenue.
The worst thing though is false test, research results, or misrepresentation of credentials in commercials and other advertising materials. Good thing there are government agencies and watchdogs already setup to combat these, but for years and years now, we have seen doctors or medical professionals, perhaps not even doctors themselves endorse a product claiming full knowledge of its capabilities. There are the training experts with sculpted bodies in those exercise machines and gadgets that claim this and that, even actors and actresses endorsing schools... so much to a point that they dress up as students. I wonder if it is required by law that they actually enroll in those schools before misrepresenting themselves in the school uniforms.
People have been lying to each everyone for millions of years, but if it's institutionalized dishonesty, and take note I haven't talked about the government yet. Wow, we have a problem.
OK, bearing these in mind, we have to understand not all corporations lie. Not every person, not everyman. Not every store owner wants to dupe you and own your cash... but it pays to know that there are people out there who have made "lying" their occupation. Be careful when you buy anything... know your rights. And ask for the real price. If they dont have the tag, tell the store owner that it is a requirement by law, and that if they dont comply, you will report them to DTI. Or if the product promo is unfair, or such and such claims of an ad is misleading --- stand up and tell people about it. File a complaint. I already emailed the NTC on the sms infotexts. ...
Just a small thing to help rid this world of liars.
posted by Jdavies @ 5/21/2006,
Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.
About This Blog
This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.
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