Truth in advertising

In My Opinion

J.R. FroelichJuly 11, 2012 

Thirty five years ago I lived in Tucson, Arizona. I recall a national hamburger chain running a television ad for a new hamburger that literally made my mouth water. It sounded incredibly delicious and priced reasonably. The ad campaign worked on me and one Saturday I loaded the family in the car and off we went to enjoy this marvelous new burger.

I placed our order, waited at a table for our number to be called, picked up the tray and with great anticipation opened the cardboard box. What the heck is this, I thought. I collected the burgers, returned to the counter and asked to speak to the manager. "This isn't what I ordered," I said. I pointed to the large poster on the wall behind him and asked if what was in the box looked anything like the picture on the poster. "Oh, that's just the picture created by advertising," he said.

I told him there wasn't anything desirable or even appetizing about what was in the box and I wanted my money back. I left with my family and my money.

Advertising is a major industry. Advertising can present solutions to needs or it can create a need not previously realized. Sometimes it's downright irritating.

A young, charismatic senator from Illinois saw a national need and committed himself to making things right.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006.

Senator Obama launched an advertising campaign known as "Hope and Change." During his campaign he made more than 500 promises. Many of them were very popular such as closing Guantanamo Bay, letting Bush-era tax cuts expire, fund foreclosure prevention, immigration reform, restricting former lobbyists from serving in his administration, bringing the Iraq war to a close, repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," un-employment below 8%, redistribute the wealth and health care for everyone. One promise he made, to go through the federal budget "line by line" to reduce wasteful spending, was especially attractive to me.

It was a very effective advertising campaign. I didn't vote for the man but many Americans were full of hope and hungry for positive change greatly needed by our nation. Basically, he convinced the majority of American voters that a totally inexperienced senator from Illinois had the ability to lead and govern our nation.

Almost four years later we've tasted the solutions he offered and found them to be grossly distasteful. Not one person in congress voted for the last budget he submitted. Our hope now is that he isn't re-elected.

Ask yourself, is this nation in a better position than when Senator Obama uttered his famous words in 2006? Does America have more freedom than in 2006? Do we have more or less liberty to conduct ourselves in commerce, religion or education? Did we get what so many hoped for? Are we happier, or more fearful, with the changes made? Are we more united or divided?

We've spent more than ever before on an "on the job training" exercise thanks to false advertising. So, we find ourselves back at the counter with the unacceptable solution to our order in our hands. This time however, we're the manager and we'll never get our money back. Great ad, lousy burger.

Note: I'm surprised that Ms. Schermerhorn believes she's immune to mistakenly relating incorrect information (Sierra Star letter to the editor, June 28, 2012). She's welcome to google "Barack Obama 2008 campaign promises" and decide for herself which website she prefers.

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