understand what it is to not suffer the consequences – WAU

In the world of Advertising, there is a very fine line that separates the true from the false. And, daily, we are bombarded with advertisements that defy our common sense. But to what extent are we really influenced by misleading advertising? We know that one of the goals of advertising is to sell us a world whose dreams can be realized. So, […]

In the world of Advertising, there is a very fine line that separates the true from the false. And, daily, we are bombarded with advertisements that defy our common sense. But to what extent are we really influenced by misleading advertising?

We know that one of the goals of advertising is to sell a world whose dreams can be realized. So, are we being deceived by advertisers or are we willing to pay for something even though we know, in our hearts, that it will not solve our problem?

Sometimes, we are trying to supply a psychological need for consumption. Think about it: you are faced with a supplement that says it is possible to lose an amount of weight in just 1 month.

To illustrate, they put several images of before and after people who used the supplement. Just do not say that, in order to achieve the goal of losing weight, a change of habits is also necessary.

We know that, most of the time, we will never have a perfect body, but we still want to take the product, because we identify with the speech and we are willing to pay for this illusion. What we buy, in fact, is the sense of well-being.

So, to what extent can advertising be considered abusive if we are at the mercy of our own will? And in the eyes of the law: how does she see this world of consumption and what does she consider misleading advertising?

This is what we will see from now on:

Misleading Advertising and Abusive Advertising

Now let’s see what deceitful advertising is and see how it can appear in different ways!

Misleading advertising

According to the Consumer Protection Code (CDC), it is considered misleading advertising that it provides false information to people, or, on purpose, fails to communicate any aspect about a product or service, such as:

  • characteristics;
  • guarantees;
  • prices;
  • quantities;
  • scratchs;
  • etc.

In other words, in essence, misleading advertising is to present goods and services as something that they are not, passing on a false idea to people about their real usefulness.

A very common example is the advertisements made by fast-foods, which present the image of a robust sandwich – but when we receive the product, it is a disappointment. The ad is nothing more than a disguised image of the original product.

Misleading advertising is provided for in Article 37 of the CDC and can be subdivided into the following categories:

Commissive misleading advertising

It is the type of advertising that encourages consumers to make mistakes, such as announcing that a watch is waterproof when, in fact, it is not.

Omissive misleading advertising

This type of misleading advertising refers to the omission of information, which can induce consumer making a mistake. It can be considered moral damage and is characterized as the company’s responsibility.

An example is when a consumer is ill because he cannot consume gluten and purchases a product that did not report that there was this protein in its composition.

Partially false misleading advertising

In this case, the advertisement provides some partially false information about the product or service.

We can cite as an example a company that advertises that its blender has X features, while in reality it has only Y.

Entirely false misleading advertising

This is the type of advertising in which products or services have completely false information about them.

For example: you buy an anti-wrinkle cream that promises to get rid of wrinkles in 1 month. But in fact, when found out, the components of the product will never result in the promised effect.

Exaggerated advertising

Exaggerated advertising can only be considered as such when a consumer is induced to some kind of error due to excessive or exaggerated disclosure of the product or service – thus causing damage to the consumer.

Abusive advertising

Abusive advertising is different from misleading and is related to ethical and moral issues that can harm human rights, such as:

  • present discriminatory characteristics;
  • incite violence;
  • explore people’s fear or superstition;
  • disrespect the environment;
  • induce the consumer to insecurity or behavior that is harmful to their health.


Despite all the considerations we have raised about misleading and abusive advertising, one must consider a very important factor: what appears to be misleading or abusive advertising really is not always.

We cannot consider advertising that calls for exaggeration or persuasion as being misleading or abusive.

This exaggeration – also called “puffing”- relates to what we characterize dolus and bonuses. In other words, it is a lawful technique used by advertising to significantly enhance your product or service without causing harm to the consumer.

We can see clear examples of this strategy of exaggeration in many types of advertising, such as an advertiser saying that his product is “the best”, “number 1”, “the most delicious” and so on. It’s just a matter of marketing.

What the consumer can do

Consumers who feel hurt by misleading or abusive advertising should seek the competent bodies, such as the Public Ministry or the Consumer Protection and Defense Program (Procon) in their city.

There is also the National Advertising Self-Regulation Council (Conar), where they can make their complaints.

It is worth remembering that misleading or abusive advertising is liable to a penalty with high indemnities or, depending on the severity, there may even be confinement of the offender.

Advertising is one of the tools capable of influencing people’s consumption habits. Therefore, it is necessary to always be alert not to fall into the temptation to use it, even unintentionally, in the wrong way.

Misleading advertising can be the trigger for taking a business to ruin, because once the consumer loses confidence in your product or service, you will hardly be able to regain your credibility in the market. Think about it!

So, did you like to know what misleading advertising is so you don’t fall into this trap or suffer the consequences of misusing it in your business?

If you want to know a little more about the subject, also read the post “Advertising: everything you need to know in this complete megapost!“. It will be very useful to increase your knowledge on the topic!