Marketing Myths and Lies We All Fell For

Posted on: 8th May 2014 by: Dokoo

Big Mac or Flat Mac

Whether McDonald’s is your option of choice or Burger King, you’ll know rightly that the slab of 100% local beef decorated with fresh lettuce and tomato incased between lightly toasted burger buns is never anything like the ad.

The myth that these fast food restaurants provide anything close to what we see on TV every night is so far gone that I think we’ve come to accept the colossal gap between reality and screen. Our expectations are shot to bits. Unfortunately for us there are no laws against photoshopping, but then what do we expect for a fiver.

Wash Your Hands

A few years ago when the SARS virus, Bird-flu and swine-flu scares kicked off, you may recall, even subconsciously noticing the spike in advertising for cleaning or sanitiser products. With news warning us of impending pandemic we rushed to the shops to top up on hand wash.

Kleenex and Dettol were two companies who decided to surf that wave of paranoia, insinuating that their products could help against infection - and we lapped it up. The market for liquid soap grew by 30%. This kind of advertising, that capitalises on media hype, usually profits despite any real evidence but through intensive marketing and implied effectiveness.

That said, you should still wash your hands - just don’t think it’ll keep you safe from viral outbreaks!

Something Fishy…

Companies, especially within the health and beauty industry, tend to extrapolate on facts and figures to pronounce statements that are a little less true than they’d at first appear. These stories, studies and facts are generally picked up by the media, who then write the article up that sensationalises things further.

Take for example a small incident during the ‘fish oil is good for you’ boom, a few years ago. A group of health companies declared that scientific studies and trials had ‘proven’ school children who had taken fish oil found it easier to concentrate. With all their data and stats they announced a range of fish oil supplement ranges for kids. Unfortunately, the data they had used came from a small study on Omega-3, not fish oil. Fish oil made not one spec of a difference when it came to concentration levels. But products sold, hundreds of millions of pounds worth.

Guinness Gimmick?

This one could be the most devastating on our list. It appears the Guinness two-pour, that helps us Guinness drinkers feel unique and special, is also a myth. We’re aware that to some this is an event as personally painful as learning the tooth fairy was a lie but, while the truth can hurt sometimes, it’s still truth.

The science behind the Guinness two-pour is so exact that Guinness produce a fact sheet on how to do it. The 45 degree angle of the glass, settling for exactly 119.5 seconds and the final pour and settle. That signature surge we always see in the adverts. While the pouring technique helps keep the foamy head of the drink reasonable in size, it does not affect the taste - whatsoever.

The history behind this myth is a piece of marketing genius. In the 50s Guinness replaced their old wooden casks with new nitrogen charged metal casks. During the 10 year long cask exchange the two-pour allowed bartenders to top up with the new nitrogen charged drink for a better head. Once dispenser technology advanced however the two pour was completely unnecessary. 

This didn’t stop Guinness flogging the two-pour process in every advertisement since. It sets their drink apart but the 10 million pints poured globally each day account for a collective waiting time of 29 years.

However, ignorance is both choice and bliss. I’ll continue to pretentiously drink my pint of black, lording it’s superiority over my friends, regardless of the facts. 


Dokoo is an agency that specialises in digital marketing in Northern Ireland. Our award-winning services have helped many businesses optimise their marketing in Belfast. We also manage social media campaigns, get in touch today and learn more.

Tags: guinness, fish oil, fight club, soap, burger king, mcdonalds, advertising myths, marketing myths, social media marketing, social media advertising, digital strategy,