Ethics in Advertising

Key Terms

Puffery
puff·​ery | \ ˈpə-f(ə-)rē  \
exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes
(dictionary.com)

Qualitative
qual·​i·​ta·​tive | \ ˈkwä-lə-ˌtā-tiv  \
of, relating to, or involving quality or kind
(m-w.com)

Quantitative
quan·​ti·​ta·​tive | \ ˈkwän-tə-ˌtā-tiv  \
of, relating to, or expressible in terms of quantity
of, relating to, or involving the measurement of quantity or amount
(m-w.com)


Advertising is any content on any platform used to promote and/or sell a product or service. The above terms relate to three kinds of claims made in advertisements. Let’s examine each.

A quantitative advertisement makes a claim related to the quantity of a product or service. Numbers are key to a quantitative ad. Here are some examples:

Qualitative advertising makes claims about the quality or good aspects of a product or service. Some examples:

An ad that employs puffery makes a qualitative claim that cannot be substantiated or proven. Key words like better and best used without direct comparison are good indicators of puffery. For example:

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