Fine the Fine Print

I started off this week’s blog research with a couple of topics in mind, as I was researching on them, I came across an advert that made me change my topic to something that we are forced to ignore “The FINE Print or the MOUSE print” Have a look at this Press Ad

Thicker hair in a week  by just using a shampoo  wow. Now that’s a revolution in shampoo. Oh wait a minute maybe I missed something. The * after  “In one week”.   Oh you can’t see it? Yeah. It is pretty small. But it is there and when you find the corresponding * with the info it reads “*versus unwashed hair”

Yes its true if you use Head and Shoulders your hair will look thicker than your unwashed hair!!!!!

Is that what they are trying to sell??? Is this what we want to buy? Just think about it with thousands of products shouting their presence advertisers are now resorting to such fine prints adverts to convince the consumers about their products???

According to the Advertising journal “The use of fine print and, more generally, advertising disclaimers, has also been the subject of numerous academic research efforts, including several content analyses Most of the research has been critical of that advertising practice, suggesting that viewers are unlikely to be able to read the messages because of the small print size and the brevity of their appearance or because the language used is incomprehensible to young audiences. Given that fine print statements often relate to a major selling point presented in an ad, critics point out that the communication value of an ad may be severely compromised when fine print disclosures are used (King 1990)”. Richards (1990, p. 83) suggests that “any ad that implies one claim and disclaims it elsewhere is potentially deceptive if consumers can have their attention diverted away from the disclaimer.”

The world is full of fine print. Fine print to hide information, fine print to misguide, fine print to emotionally rationalize. Fine print by- financial institutions, banks, cars manufacturers, beauty products, food industry, there’s no one to be spared. If the point of the information is to provide information to the consumers then why not give them out in a way that the consumers understand? Desite consumer complains there has been no law clearly defining the terms and the fonts for such information.

This video strikingly shows how we as consumers are swindled by these fine print clauses.

When I said there is no one to spare there literally isn’t anyone to be spared not even children!!!.  (Read more : A comparison of children’s and prime-time fine-print advertising disclosure practices.)

Take a look at this ‘innocent’ Disney commercial for instance

The fine print reads ” the family had been compensated for their participation”A free vacation? No wonder the Rodriquez family is happy and having a good time! Do children really understand this?

Want to see more check out this Ad By P&G

If you didn’t read the fine print, you would have assumed that P&G was giving one dollar to these causes for every bottle of Dawn sold.  I say spare the social causes atleast. What do you think? Is this ethical? Should there be a ban on fine print??? Do let me know your views on it……

To end my blog for the week i will leave you with 2 commercials that mock the concept of fine print. Hope you enjoy watching them!!!

Hampton Hyundai Commercial


Walt Massey Automotive commercial


1 Comment

  1. Most of the literature I have read on the subject of ‘Fine print in advertisements’ have conceptualized it as a means of deceiving the consumer.
    We have all tried to decipher what the radio announcer tries to say before the mutual funds radio ads (“Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks, read the offer document carefully before investing”).
    Its almost as if the advertisers dont want the consumers to understand what they are trying to say.
    Interestingly, the Securities and Exchange Board of India passed a regulation that all advertisements must play the disclaimer for in an easily understandable manner. [To see what effect it has had on advertisements, see this

    I think companies that resort to fine print in advertising are often viewed with suspicion by consumers and are viewed as untrustworthy.

    If advertisers were to advertise ‘fine print, in large print’, i.e. ensure that all the conditions of the product claim are displayed prominently, it will help in reducing the suspicion about the brand and will help in increasing the product trust.

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