ADVERTISING: Truth Doesn't Sell

In pooh-poohing the need for sterner Government rules against deceptive advertising, agency chiefs like to argue that today's consumer is too smart to be hoodwinked. That comfortable belief has now been shaken by a study presented at a recent gathering of the American Marketing Association by Seymour Lieberman, president of Manhattan-based Lieberman Research Inc. His key finding: deceitful ads can be far more persuasive than promotions that tell the simple truth.

Lieberman enlisted the aid of the Kenyon & Eckhardt agency to create one deceptive and one truthful television commercial for each of six fictitious products. A panel of 100 largely...

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