Advertising - what tricks are the ads using to sell products services?

Agree @grecoz. You’d be so much better looking if you use … If you use this and were better looking then…

Ads also throw in the time imperative. If you don’t act now then… you will age; the kids will not survive; the kids will get sick; your home will not look as good as next door; you’ll miss out on a special deal; etc…


Some marketing also tries to redefine nature more blatantly than we realise.

For hair loss most common for men, the marketed solutions that use hair as a sign of masculinity is age old. The alternate reality is that male pattern baldness or hair loss is 99% a reliable indicator of being a real man! Why bother?

This observation may also go part way in explaining why Donald Trump is not. :rofl:


You often see the winner as becoming super popular buying, presumably with the winnings, a round of drinks in the pub.

My pet peeve with gambling marketing is the integration of coverage and betting. The normalising of gambling as just a regular part of enjoying sport.

Sport commentary making a smooth transition to various betting odds and then to where viewers can place a bet. Or how commentators decide the favourites for a match based on the current betting.


I used to work with a bloke who reckoned he had better things to do with his hormones than grow hair.


I suspect that you and Mark know this but for the rest: in a man a full head of hair does not indicate the possession of testosterone, the reverse. If a man is genetically susceptible to male pattern baldness it will be worse with higher hormones than lower. Few go for the obvious option in order to keep their hair.


Unsure if this is the right section but here goes…

What has been getting me recently is how companies spruiking their products on TV (and it seems to be almost exclusively one specific company) offer some type of ‘get the second one free - just pay for postage & handling’.

You are not getting the second for “free”; all they do is double the price for one, and sell you two items instead of just one.

I don’t think it is illegal but I certainly consider it to be shonky.

How do others feel?


Hi @Obviousman, worth considering.

Shonky might depend more on the quality of the product, than the pricing strategy. Although there is some pretty trashy stuff on offer from time to time.

The big stores and chain stores, EG luggage sales, kitchen wares, shoe stores often have a buy one get the second for half price. Or similar deals.

I know some who happily go with the buy the one get a second free and gift the second. Quality of the gifts highly subjective.


Well for a company to claim ‘50% off’ the product has to have actually been at the full price in the previous few months.

Is it the same with ‘buy one get one free’? Do they have to actually be selling them individually in order to claim that? I would be interested to know.


Mr Z likes watching old TV shows so we see a lot of these on the “cheap” stations. Buy one, get one free (just pay extra post and handling) $49.99 plus $19.99 p&h = $70 for one, $90 for two. I suspect p&h covers the wholesale cost of the item, but free is an incentive to buy. But why would you want two? Global Shop Direct and Danoz are two we see frequently.

Danoz offers a “30 day free trial” just pay p&h, and don’t reveal the price on the advert. I suspect, when payment day comes (and I expect they already have your card to debit) and you are not satisfied, they explain it will cost extra p&h to return, then offer it half price for you to keep it. Choice found this when testing exercise machines.

If not satisfied a full refund of the product price $50 (plus handling charge $20x2) means if you send the two back you pay $40 (plus your postage) and they refund $10! When you request a return they explain that to you and may offer the product at a discount - say $20 off. Somehow you have ended up with some junk you didn’t want that cost you $70, and they have convinced you that you have got a bargain ($100 of product).


No, they don’t claim 50% off or anything like that. They just say ‘… but wait! Order now and we’ll give you another set free!’.

I have seen this with a product. Let’s say on TV they were advertising it for $50, get one free, just pay additional P&H. I saw exactly the same product in a post office for $25. I bought it and am very happy with it.

I think the giveaway is when you think ‘Gee; isn’t that a little expensive for a (insert product)? I don’t know if I want to pay that’. When the ‘get another free!’ kicks in, the price seems much more reasonable but you end up buying two products instead of just the one.

I don’t know if this is deceptive or misleading but it is just something to be alert to and what I feel is “shonky”.


If you read my reply again I’m asking if the same rules apply to buy one get one free. I know they’re not ‘50% off’

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They’ve got that covered … the formula advert shows you on-line listings for alternative products with “why pay up to $200 when you can have …” Some are outlandish, like why pay over $300 for a bulky full size sewing machine when you can have a hand held for the low price on your screen!


I am a pensioner and it really annoys me that they put specials on “buy two at a lower price”.
When you live by yourself one cannot afford to buy two, but we have to pay more if we only buy one item. This affects most people living alone.


It annoys me too @hmpk12
Two items will last a long time for just one person and the outlay is more than I budgeted for, but the offer is difficult to refuse because of the large saving :slightly_frowning_face:


While I sympathise with your plight, you aren’t paying more to buy one. You are paying the ‘standard price’. It is better or even necessary for the retailer and the wholesaler to sell more product, so they put a ‘special’ price on to move the stock.

In general, things are often (but not always) discounted if you buy bulk. The more you buy, the cheaper the unit cost can be.

Perhaps you could find someone you know who might like the same items and negotiate that you buy two and they pay for one at the reduced price? Set up a mini-cooperative to share out the special prices.


Years later – a common trick is to announce a new or upgraded product to get buyers now not after the new one comes out while continuing to deliver the old one. In this case the new one was not even available in the market they advertised in.

Emirates paid the price, at least to one pax. If only it could become a global precedent.


Noted the closing line in the article. A busy time for the Airline Marketing and Legal teams, especially if they service NZ.

The tribunal ruled that the man’s claim for 13,555 NZD was a fair reflection of the difference in service advertised vs. what he paid for. Now, all we need is for someone to set a precedent like this for the knee-crushing horrors of economy, and we’ll be laughing.


We have someone from the UK staying with us, and we discussed the differences in consumer protections.

They had difficulty believing that the airlines could get away with how are behaving here, and were aghast at the total absence of legislated protection for travellers here in Australia.

Perhaps under the UK legislation, individuals wouldn’t need to sue if an airline didn’t deliver on what was advertised? Perhaps they would be compensated automatically? Wouldn’t that be nice!