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Archive for January 12th, 2011

The small print

We are all aware of the wisdom in reading the small print of anything we sign, although I do have to admit that I am sometimes guilty of ‘speed reading’ and not really absorbing the facts but signing anyway. The small print is generally just that, small print, very small print, hardly user friendly and certainly difficult for those of us who have developed long-sightedness and whose arms have not yet lengthened enough to enable us to focus effectively. Tonight, thanks to Hubby’s grumpy old man running commentary about adverts on TV, I realised how clever some companies are with regard to their small print. ‘Santander’s’ latest advert came on and I decided to read the small print they have at the bottom of the screen*, and I couldn’t. I had my new glasses on, was sitting approximately 8 feet from the 32 inch screen and could not do more than identify the odd word of their ‘advisory’ at the bottom of the screen. Small writing, on a moving background and on the screen for too short a time. As a means to provide extra information for prospective customers it is absolutely useless so I can only assume that it is a requirement that the words are broadcast, not that they can be read.

Being me I then became addicted to reading the small print at the bottom of television advertisements, gosh there’s a lot of them and not merely on financial ads. Probiotic drinks; Flora pro-active (no idea what this one says); hand cream and my favourite, at the moment, Sheila’s Wheels. What is it about this car insurance company which has captured my attention? Well one of their advisories states ‘ Discount calculated on price via all other phone numbers’. What? Help, I need a translation. Any offers?

So what does this use of qualifying/explanatory statements say to me? Their use says to me that the advertisement is not giving me the whole story, that in fact the advertisement itself may even be misleading, that I shouldn’t take what they are saying their product provides or produces is not true. It says, ‘Don’t believe the pretty pictures or the eloquent dialogue’. 

*Not because I would ever use this new manifestation of Abbey, as my experiences with them on behalf of my daughter have always been absolutely horrendous.

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