Monday, August 12, 2002

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Marketing copy provides fertile ground for examples of extreme abuse of language, not just grammatically but semantically. Where does truth in advertising start and end, and how much can a company get away with by appropriating the far ends of the spectrum?

For example, consider this statement, taken from sidebar ad for Dell computers seen on a CNN web page: "Your perfect computer at your price." Now, we all know what they intend by this ad, that they do pretty good computers and believe they have competitive prices. But one could interpret this as meaning Dell offers the most incredible computer possible for practically nothing. After all, what does "perfect" mean? and what sort of price would qualify as "my price"? Does the extreme nature of the statement nullify its lack of truth because "nobody" would interpret it as true? On the other hand, does the promise of perfection still have some impact on the mind of the buyer?

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