Don’t Believe It
Several advertising campaigns are currently having a huge persuasive influence on consumers’ buying decisions. The ads are strategically broadcasted via several communication channels including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cable TV, published documents, and the Internet. Frequently, it is inevitable for consumers to fall victim to exaggerated advertising information, causing them to be easily convinced by incredibly attractive offers. Finally, some unfortunate consumers will find themselves trapped in those inferior products, which can even cause fatal reactions to human health. The Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA) has raised its deep concern over the rising trend of exaggerated advertising, trying very hard to encourage people to select the right consumer products based on their genuine quality and not on overstated advertising information. It is crucial for all related parties to force product manufacturers to have greater responsibility in operating their businesses.
The ‘Don’t Believe It’ project was officially initiated in 2007, with the purpose of providing consumers with knowledge and understanding towards inferior products and advertising scams. The Thai FDA has continued to encourage Thai people to change their consumption behaviors to realize the significance of self-reliance and self-sufficiency in consuming quality health products, as part of the goal to promote good personal immunization correctly and safely.
As the project was implemented based on two strategic requirements, including the promotion of project-related campaigns and the launch of knowledge-sharing activities, people were expected to be more educated and safe from being deceived by exaggerated advertizing campaigns launched for a variety of consumer products such as food, pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and hazardous household items. The two main parts of the project were explained below:
1. The promotion of project-related campaigns – focused on the suppression of overstated advertising information, which was promoted through several types of media including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cable TV, published documents, and the Internet. Besides, additional events held under the themes ‘Smart Buyer’ and ‘Precautions on Hazardous Products’ as well as the short film contest developed under the topic ‘Don’t Believe It’ were also introduced differently each year.
2. The evaluation of project achievement – was conducted among a target group of people aged 15-60 nationwide. The evaluation results were used for the development of media publication to be more productive and accessible to a larger group of consumers. It was also necessary to evaluate the consumers’ improved ability to view the advertisement of health products, particularly to see how efficient they could differentiate between exaggerated or deceptive ads and proper ones.