William Lutz Essay, Research Paper
Professor Lutz?s article ?With these Words I can sell you Anything? describes many of the advertisement business tricks to draw consumers into buying their products. He describe the advertisers tricks as ?Weasel words?, which are words that seem to mean one thing but really mean the opposite. To avoid falling into these traps of advertisers he stressed that consumers need to be educated consumers. The language he uses is very informative and persuasive to let the consumers know that they have to pay attention to these ?Weasel Words?. The structure of the article is very straightforward and easy to follow and to stay focused on the topic. On each topic Lutz gives plenty of examples of how advertisers use these weasel words along with stories of how people get caught up in these tricks.
The first weasel word that he talks about is the word ?help?. He defines the word ?help? as the number one weasel word. Advertisements use the word help to make you think that the product is able to stop, eliminate, end, solve, or heel according to Lutz. When in acualality help means the total opposite. Advertisements usually put this word in front of very powerful words so that consumer doesn?t pay attention to the word help. Another weasel word is ?virtually?; this word is used just like the word help. The word virtually in The American heritage dictionary means in fact or to all purposes; practically. One example of how they use this word to fool people is the case of the lady and her birth control. When she read the birth control box it said that it provides ?virtually 100% protection,? being an uneducated consumer she thought that eat would prevent her from getting pregnant. When she took this to court she lost because the definition of ?virtually? gave the product room for certain incidence of conception.
?New and Improved? is another weasel word used by advertiser to get consumers to buy their product. Consumers would buy a product that had new and improved on it, because they think of new and improved as better than the old one, But in what way? Lutz stated ? if a product has a material functional change,? then it could be considered to be new and improved. So a company can change the color and call it ?new and improved.? One of the last weasel word he elaborates on is the phrase ?Acts Fasts?. Advertiser put this on product, but it is an open phrase and doesn’t tell you how fast. Is it fast relative to time, other products, or a car?
He concludes this article by saying that having good critical listening, hearing and looking ability. That?s the only way to avoid getting sucked into these weasel words.
The language Lutz uses is very informative and lets the consumer know about these advertising tricks. He defines these terms with the actual meaning not how people see them at first. He shows this with the ?Weasel Word?, virtually. He gives a clear definition of the word virtually as being ?almost entirely?, and not the way advertisers use it as 100%. On the other hand his tone of writing seems as if he was talking down to the uneducated consumer, and he goes on throughout to article with this same tone and it gets kind of annoying after a while. An example of the way Lutz belittles uneducated consumer is when is when he talks about the word help. He stated ?The next time you see an ad for a cold medicine that promises ?that it helps relive cold symptoms fast,? don?t rush out and buy it?. With this statement he is implying that consumers just believe everything that they see and hear and think that it?s true. Lutz goes on with this same nagging tone throughout the article. This nagging is still evident at the end of the article with the little quiz he put in the article as if we didn?t get the point the first several times he mentioned this topic. This tone is also seen in the structure of the article. The way he uses the bold face headlines that state each new topic shows how he talks down to the consumer.
The structure of his article is put together very well making it easy to read and stay focused on the main ideas that he is talking about. The structure of the article is laid out pretty nice and simple, he starts each section of with bold letters telling what he is going to talk about. In each little subheading he gives examples of how the topic is used by advertisers use the weasel words. For example the topic on ?New and Improved.? In this subheading you can see the structure of each topic in the whole article. Lutz starts of by giving a quick lesson on how the word is used and why it is a weasel word. Then he states the actual meaning of the words and examples of how they can be used legally. For example the words ?New and Improved? can only be used if there is a functional change in the product no matter how small the change is. Following this he shows you ways to point these words out and think about the literal meaning. The structure contains a lot of evidence to convince the readers of his point of view.
You can see in this article that he gives a lot of evidence to support his ideas of weasel words. One of the examples of evidence that stands out the most are the stories he tells. An example of this is the story the lady that took the birth control pills and the ills did not work. She took this to court and she lost because the word virtually gave the pill room for certain incidences of conception. You can see that he uses strong evidence to support his ideas. This evidence is effective because of how so many people can relate this story to their own lives.
In conclusion this article is put together very well and is very informative and you can learn from reading this article. The structure and the evidence that he gave to support his claims were overall good. However the only thing I found wrong to me was the tone of voice he uses and the way he belittles the uneducated consumers. Other than that overall his article is very good, and I enjoyed reading it.