Copywriting and the overextended truth

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To embellish or not to embellish?

While adverts must persuade consumers to purchase a product, should they do so by extending the truth that little bit too far? The copy within adverts, it seems, can either attract customers by highlighting the best features of a product or service, or simply by using fictitious claims.

Commercial content can sometimes overstep the fine line between enticing and misleading, as Motorola found out last week. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned the new Motorola Atrix after complaints from Galaxy Samsung users. While Motorola stated that its Atrix is "the world's most powerful smartphone", Galaxy fans have claimed that the Samsung smartphone is in fact the most potent processor.

Other phone companies have also exaggerated their products and services in the past. An iPhone 3G advert was removed by the ASA as it overstated the speed of its mobile browsing and a TalkTalk advert was also banned after it claimed that the company could save potential customers more money than it actually could. It seems that within the competitive phone market, adverts will sometimes contain copy that overextends the truth in an attempt to get ahead of the opposition.

Honesty is the best policy

As over-exaggerated terms are policed by the ASA, it seems that honesty is by far the best policy when it comes to writing copy. Any text that is misleading or overly excessive will only have a short time on air and in publications before it is banned.

Copy that is likely to keep an advert on TV, on the internet or in a magazine will be honest as well as enticing. Truthful advertising will ensure that consumers are provided with a product or service that lives up to the claims found in its advertisement. This type of commercial copy will make sure that a company has a customer base that is loyal as the consumer will be able to trust what the brand writes about in the future.