Avoid Use of Logical Fallacies in Advertising Words & Marketing Campaigns
Richard Taflinger, professor at the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University, says that a ploy often used in advertising (marketing) is the use of logical fallacies. These fallacies are not recommended because they may alienate your audience.
Taflinger suggest avoiding the following logical fallacies:
- Black/White Fallacy / False Dilemma: The black/white, or either/or, trick is making a statement that provides insufficient options to your argument. A common way this is used in advertising is by presenting two situations, one with the product and the other without. The one with the product shows circumstances that the advertiser presumes the target audience would like to be in, and vice versa for the situation without the product.
- Genetic Fallacy: This fallacy makes a prediction about something based on where it came from or its origins. Such statements may indeed by true, but they need evidence as proof.
- Begging the Question Fallacy: This is making a statement that includes a premise that has not been proven, basically saying that something is simply because it is.
- Weasel Words Fallacy: These are words that are tossed into a sentence that change the actual meaning of the sentence while leaving an impression that is different.
- Dangling Comparative / Incomplete Comparison Fallacy: This is a statement that seems to be comparing one thing to another, but in actuality never actually states what the thing being compared is being compared to. What generally happens is that the comparison is left up to the audience to complete.
- Complex Question / Fallacy of Many Questions / Loaded Question: A complex question is one that appears to be asking for a yes or no answer, but is in reality two yes-or-no questions that are usually contradictory. No matter how you answer, you can't win.
- Buzz Words: These are words that seem to say something, but don't. They are extremely popular in advertising.
- Guilt by Association Fallacy: This is when you attribute characteristics to someone or something based merely on the society they keep.
- Self-Definition / Equivocation Fallacy: This is using a word that you expect your audience to define one way, but you mean it another way when you use it.