11 Myths We Only Believe Because Advertisers Told Us to
Advertising drives sales. It also manipulates us and pulls the wool over our eyes. Advertisers try to put a gloss on reality and sometimes cover up the truth so that a buyer looks at the product and has just one thought: "I have to buy it."
Bright Side has conducted a small investigation to understand the most common misconceptions we continue to believe in against our better judgment.
11. Citrus fruits are the best source of vitamin C.
The truth: The amount of vitamin C in fresh rose hips is about 650 mg/100 g, and in red bell peppers it's 250 mg/100 g. Even in black currants there's more vitamin C than in citrus fruits: 200 mg/100 g.
How the myth appeared: By 1908, the orange industry was at a loss. Producers did not succeed in selling their overly large harvests. Albert Lasker came up with an ad campaign in which he suggested making juice from oranges and drinking it at breakfast as a source of vitamin C.
10. You need to give a diamond engagement ring.
The truth: In fact, you don't have to give anything.
How the myth appeared: The advertising campaign with the slogan "A diamond is forever" is included in every marketing textbook. As a result of this, after 1947, the simple carbon that is quite abundant in the world was considered not just an elite gift but also an indispensable attribute of a proposal.
9. Greeting cards are to be given together with a gift.
The truth: It's not necessary either.
How the myth appeared: Until the beginning of the 20th century, greeting cards were only sent by mail. Thanks to Hallmark's ad campaign, they started being given personally as a necessary addition to a gift. The advertisers emphasized the fact that greeting cards were beautiful, and one could write cordial words that would be remembered for a long time.
8. Toothpaste should be squeezed out along the entire length of the toothbrush head.
The truth: A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient.
How the myth appeared: Each myth in this collection came into being for one reason: to increase the number of sales, and toothpaste manufacturers are no exception. Every toothpaste ad features a long strip of toothpaste on the toothbrush. This looks nicer and makes people buy toothpaste more often. In fact, when dental health is concerned, toothpaste is less important than the way we brush our teeth.
7. The image of Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola.
The truth: The first artist to define Santa Claus's modern image was Thomas Nast at the end of the 19th century.
How the myth appeared: Santa's prototype is St. Nicholas, who used to look quite different on greeting cards – a humble monk in a green winter cloak. In 1931, Coca-Cola launched an advertising campaign to increase the number of soft drinks sales during winter. Coca-Cola's Santa was created by Haddon Sandblom, and it was not the first but the most successful image of the charming Christmas symbol.
6. Dysbiosis is a disease.
The truth: In the international classification, there is no such disease.
How the myth appeared: The use of the term "dysbiosis" in Eastern Europe is supported by pharmaceutical companies, including Western ones. As a matter of curiosity, no one uses this term in Western Europe or in the United States.
5. There are "bad" vegetable oils with cholesterol.
The truth: No vegetable oil contains cholesterol, only butter does.
How the myth appeared: Another marketing trick to increase sales. A text starting with "Does not contain..." attracts buyers' attention, establishes credibility, and makes them think that they are buying a special premium kind of vegetable oil.
4. Beer and sweet soda drinks quench thirst.
How the myth appeared: Any soft drink ad emphasizes that they should be consumed in hot weather. Manufacturers prefer to conceal the truth that, in fact, the only thing that can quench your thirst is ordinary clean water.
3. Bacon and eggs make a perfect breakfast.
The truth: There is no convincing research on the effect of breakfast on body shape.
How the myth appeared: In the 1920s, the famous PR expert Edward Bernays was given the task of increasing the amount of bacon consumption in the United States. He ordered a study that confirmed that a hearty breakfast is better than a light one. If a breakfast is to be satisfying, there should be more bacon – this logic suited the buyers. Since then, 70% of bacon is consumed in the morning not only in the USA but all over the world.
2. There are painkillers just for women.
The truth: There are complex medicines that simultaneously possess antispasmodic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
How the myth appeared: Period pain in women is very common, and drug manufacturers did not miss the opportunity to make money on it. Such generic drugs as dipyrone, drotaverine, and paracetamol are cheap, so it is more profitable to sell the same ingredients in a different package labeled "Improved formula for menstrual pain relief."
1. Fruit-flavored gummy bears are candies for children.
The truth: The composition of gelatin-based candies includes sugar, starch, and food coloring, but there is no fruit. Another deception is that the green bears may not be apple-flavored but strawberry.
How the myth appeared: The childish form of jelly candies does not make them useful and safe for children. You can safely eat any candies from trustworthy manufacturers to a certain extent, but you'd better avoid buying them at random street markets. And as for the green bears, some manufacturers make them with strawberry flavoring (the red ones are raspberry).