The general public seems to believe that advertising is mostly lies.

That is not the case. In fact we operate under stringent requirements to be "legal, decent, truthful and honest."

However, we are very often guilty of employing 'weasel words', a phrase I generally shorten to just 'weasels'.

The weasel's favoured habitat is in claim lines.

"May improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles" is a weasel that really pisses me off. "May" means absolutely nothing. They might as well write "may cause nuclear war" or "may cause you to be recruited as the next member of One Direction."

"Up to 70% off" is another favourite. This could mean that nothing in the store is reduced at all, apart from one pair of socks, which is 69% off.

"A toothpaste that fights oral bacteria" is a classic weasel, because 'fighting' means nothing of any significance. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel could charge aggressively towards a Tiger Tank, get instantly cut down by one of its 7.92mm MG34 machine guns and then be run over and squished, and you could still fairly claim it to be "A dog that fights tanks."

I believe consumers are too smart to be taken in by weasels. And the vast majority of clients know that.

Still, a few seem to slip through.

Tell me your favourite weasel in the comments, and at the end of the week I may crown a King of the Weasels.

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