No doubt, advertising is one of the most used marketing communication tool due to is wide reach; it is use to persuade potential costumers, aid repeat purchase, increase market share, introduce new brand(s) and so on through the brand promise.
Lately, due to stiff competition among brands to gain higher market share by making their target audience see the reasons why they are better in their category among their peers; thus, makes promises that could not be fulfilled in their adverts.
Even as many companies seek the aid of advert agencies to get creative and innovative ideas in order to win the minds of their target audience in the face of their competitor, failed promises are made to the customers.
Some brands create a psychological thought that you can be more beautiful and totally protected from germs after using certain soap; some claimed that - clothes will be exceptionally clean after applying a drop of its detergent in the water before washing or that you will feel on top of the world after you take a bottle of a certain brand of soft drink. For example: Hypo television commercial which revealed how clean and shining a white shirt looks that his colleagues who saw the brand user alight from his car had to use a sun-shade before they could look at him.
Some customers will expect those veiled promises to be fulfilled but contrarily, the advertisements are playing with our minds. They leave pleasurable sensations in us and that could encourage us to go for the brand in the market.
But there are times when very concrete specific promises are made. For example; an internet service provider that tells you that the speed of your internet connection is going to work within a twinkle of an eyes, a detergent that promise to wipe off all the stains on your cloths but after using its brand but after using the said brand, some stains still.
Most times, the aim of the company who place an advert is to get more customers to spend money on their brand(s) and they often succeed. With this line of reasoning, what happens when those promises are not met?
The best customers often get from the brand company are apologizes. The case of the telecom companies is even more alarming. No doubt, many brands accomplish their brand promise(s), but it is also a fact that often these products or services suffer technical hitches or are stopped altogether and the company does not bother to offer any explanations.
Taking a critical look into the telecommunication sector in the country, virtually all the telecom service providers make gargantuan advertisements all through the year with different brand promises which is based on their brand positioning. But the truth is – some times the promises are not attained to the level of its guarantee to the costumers in their adverts.
The question in the mind of many customers nowadays is: "who was to blame for my spending money on a product I might never have purchased if not for the advertisement? Was it a deliberate act of deception by the brand’s company or I didn’t follow the brand’s recommendations? Some times brands through their ads promise their target prospects heaven and earth which in reality could not be actualized.
According to Bola Fagade, an ICT expert, people take decisions on how to spend their money based on promises made. “I think this is gross exploitation. If these promises are not delivered someone should be made to pay. If not it becomes very easy for a company to make an offer it never intended to deliver or planned to deliver for only a short period of time. Meanwhile they would have generated lots of income from the unsuspecting consumers. Consumers should be protected against such acts,” he said.
“Recently, I received a text message from my mobile phone service, Airtel to subscribe for a free club alert by send a code for free with my club name and be eligible to alert about my favourite club. I subscribed for the package not knowing that I was also subscribed to another plan, only for Airtel to deduct N100 from my credit. I called their customer service to inform them what happened, after my explanation all I could get was apology. The customer service lady kept saying that they are sorry and my money was not replaced. To me, that’s really unfair”, said an aggrieved student of Lagos State University, Faruq Tejuoso.
In Chichi Lawrence’s opinion, a Marketer, the brand manager who intend to make he/she brand unique most times lead to a huge challenge for advertising agencies to capture the idea and the outlined positioning of the brand thus lead the advert agency into so much exaggeration in depicting the uniqueness of the brand.
His words: “Advertising agency end up using a lot of exaggeration in order to satisfy the brand handler who intend to make their brand unique in its category and also to psychologically give the impression of the best among the rest. Getting the message delivered on point at this extent at times lead to this issues so brand managers need to understand that such promises if not realistic to the consumers could hinder consumers’ impression on such brands”.
Femi Babawale, a Blogger, agreed with Lawrence view, he added that there is also need for the Advertising Practitioners Association of Nigeria and other concern bodies to be object even when brands manager tend to pressurize them in delivering an exclusive adverting concepts.
Still, the question remains - who should be held responsible for failed brand promise(s): the brand’s company, the advert agency, regulatory body in the country or the target prospect that purchase the product after been convinced by the advert?