Truth In Advertising: Does It Exist?

by MomGrind

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 established truth in advertising law. It says that advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive, and advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims.

An ad is considered deceptive if it contains a statement, or omits information, that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances.

Obviously, there are many gray areas when it comes to truth in advertising. The following ads, from as early as the 1920s and from as late as the 1970s, demonstrate it well:


1. Pepsi Cola is wholesome and light

vintage-pepsi-adImage credit: Miss Retro Modern

“Today’s delicious, pure Pepsi Cola – the wholesome, light refreshment.”


2. This inflatable doll looks just like a real woman

inflatable-dollImage credit: jbcurio

“Just add air. Life like in every detail…just add air and instantly I become a 5’4” beauty who wears size 8 clothes… take me to a party, boating or swimming (I float).” 1970.


3. This gentle exercise routine will enlarge your breasts

vintage-exercise-adImage credit: Uh.. Bob

“Now, through the famous Swedish method of gentle exercise that doctors recommend, you can develop the beautiful form that you desire. Yes, just 10 minutes a day of this scientific development based on modern up-to-date principles allows you to put weight on where you wish – take weight off where you don’t want it.”


4. My special garments dissolves fat by perspiring

reduce-your-fleshImage credit: jbcurio

“The entire body, or any part, can be reduced without dieting by dissolving the fat through perspiration produced by wearing my garments.” 1923.


5. Canned spaghetti is a “wonderful eating”

heinz-vintage-adImage credit: jbcurio

“An easy to fix, money-saving dish that’s truly wonderful eating.”


6. Corn syrup on toast for breakfast is yummy and energizing

corn-syrup-vintage-adImage credit: Miss Retro Modern

“Top off your toast with ENERGY. Bee Hive for breakfast gives you two big benefits… a refreshing taste of delicious flavor and plenty of instant energy.”


7. Sugar can help you keep your weight down

sugar-ad-1Image credit: Miss Retro Modern

“Sugar keep your energy up and your appetite down. Sugar: only 18 calories per spoon, and it’s all energy.”


8. My nose shaper will fix your nose without surgery

nose-shaper1Image credit: jbcurio

“My new nose-shaper corrects ill-shaped noses without operation, quickly, safely and permanently.” 1916.

Apparently, “truth in advertising” often means “stretching the truth to its limits.”

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