Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If it says "T's and C's Apply", then they can say pretty much anything they want...

Adverts always carry small print - whether it is a food product being sold, with the words "Serving Suggestion" on the packaging, or an unbelievable deal which is somehow limited in the small print, most ads we see have got some disclaimers built in.

Obviously this is necessary to cover the advertiser in legal terms. I saw a good example at Makro the other day - Logitech had a special on their Alto laptop stand and keyboard combo, with a free Wireless mouse.
The box showed a photo of a laptop on the stand, and the small print stated "laptop not included"...

Apparently some customers had actually complained about there being no laptop in the box (which is really too small to hold a laptop anyway - use your noggin people!), so Logitech had to cover their butts on that count.

Trouble is, some ads are just downright misleading, especially when you cannot see the ad - i.e. on radio.
I heard the new Mango Fever one today and it goes something like this:

"If you do this and this and blah and blah and buy a ticket on Mango this month.... then you can WIN A PLANE!....


What more do you want? It's a flippin' plane!

T's and C's apply."

The actual prize, as quoted on the Mango website includes the following:
The prize includes 2 reserved seats for whenever you wish to fly.  Winners enjoy an entire month of absolutely free travel between 15 November and 15 December 2010 on any of Mango’s routes (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban). 4 winners will be drawn and each will receive personalized treatment over the travel period. A plane will be branded for each winner, this will include the winners name and his / her picture on the plane’s exterior. Winners will travel on premium Mango Plus tickets which entitles them to:
Access to BidAir Premier Lounges. Additional 10kg checked-in baggage weight allowance. Free on-board refreshments to the value of R40 per passenger. Two seats will be personalised for each winner when flying.
The prize also includes courtesy of our partners: 
  • R2000 cash for each winner courtesy of Tempest Car Hire
  • Complimentary car hire from Tempest Car Hire over this same period
  • Complimentary accommodation for one weekend from Southern Sun (bed and breakfast, for 2 nights for 2 guests)

So when some gullible nut hears the ad and takes it at face value, they might be forgiven for thinking that they will actually end up owning some sort of flying machine... not so?
Don't get me wrong, the prize is fantastic. I am just trying to point out that when someone includes a disclaimer in their ads, they can pretty much say whatever the hell they like in the ad itself.

I could be advertising a new soft drink - let's call it "Super Juice" for want of a better name... :)
Here is how the ad could go:

"New Super Juice contains all the vitamins to keep you healthy but also sustains your energy with a blend of natural substances. The juice is non-carbonated and contains no preservatives!

Try it now - available from all leading retailers nationwide, for the limited introductory price of only R 6,99!

T's and C's apply..."

and here are the T's and C's:

"Super Juice actually contains no vitamins;
It will not keep you healthy. It may in fact make you violently ill;
Substances used in production are in fact, not natural but entirely synthetic;
The juice is carbonated. Heavily so;
The juice consists entirely of preservatives;
The juice is only available at one shop in Koffiefontein, called "Super Spaza";
The introductory price is actually R 25,00 per bottle;

Get my drift? Ok this is a silly example, but the advertiser would reasonably be able to contest any comebacks on the product, based on their disclaimer - if the customer just read it :)

Even I use T's and C's when I advertise specials, but mine are not quite that hectic :)
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