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Home » Face to face » Not all that glitters is gold

Not all that glitters is gold

Face to face

Issa Pérez Padilla and Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo discuss when brands are wolves in sheep’s clothing.


Issa Pérez Padilla

Issa Pérez Padilla

Degree in publicity, Masters in International Commerce. Partner-Director of marketing at Work and Feeling, S.A. Guide Commercial Director (Guatemaltecos Impulsores del Aprendizaje)

Brands that are wolves in sheep’s clothing

By Issa Pérez Padilla 


Across the world, but especially in Latin America and Guatemala, we receive a lot of information from different brands that have tricky but attractive publicity, accomplishing the goals of publicity: attract, inform, and persuade. However, what they don’t inform us of is everything that happens behind that soft and attractive sheep’s clothing.

To not mention specific brands, I will try to exemplify what businesses might do us, taking us to the point of insatisfaction, and on occasion, making us broke.

A clear example is with credit cards that paint a positive picture of discounts, points, two for one deals, and a million advantages for using them. But what they never mention is that behind that picture, those unforgettable trips and magical moments, come huge debt, that if not cancelled within 55 days could double in size, ruining your credit and references, affecting your life and work prospects.

But, what would happen if advertising were honest and assertive? Would consumers react the same way? If, for example, a person saw an ad for a $100 five star hotel, but it came with a warning that it would have to be paid off in the following 55 days, or accumulate a 10% additional charge, would the ad have the same effect on the consumer? Probably not, since many times consumers only want to see the benefits and not the important details of a purchase. Although as consumers we would feel more at peace and less hesitant if we were able to read all the fine print in order to choose correctly.

Another example that presents this problem is phone companies. The commercial war between phone brands has become so absurd that people don’t know who to believe, the blue, red, or green one. It’s very similar to political parties who offer a thousand benefits, although the reality is actually in the fine print.

That is where you can see what you actually get, in an 18 month long contract, that so kindly gifts you the device you most like. You’ll get unlimited calls, internet, and messages for Q299. But this is not as real as it seems. Consumers have to be careful to notice the bandwidth and GBs that the plan comes with, which numbers they can call for free, and all of the messaging and other details to avoid future commercial wolf bites.

I could mention many more examples, like car brands and banks among others, that are very common in life and in the media that use guerrilla marketing, traditional media, social media, street marketing, BTL. But the focus is on what these types of businesses do, so that from now on, when you consume any product, you pay attention to the small print and warnings. This can give a much better panorama of what you are about to consume or acquire, without the surprises later.

Lucrecia de Arredondo - Circle

Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo - Social communicator

Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo - Social communicator

Degree in journalism in Panamericana University, she has worked in many communication workshops in the University and with media professionals. She works as advisor in communication and public relations, working for Belcorp Business.

She had worked with Health Ministry and OPS in education Workshops, with Motorola Solutions mapping markets for radio communication, with Fundación Latinoamericana AVINA as an advisor in communication, in Gabinete de Desarrollo Rural Integral making a mapping for the implementation of the Política de Desarrollo Rural Integral, in Telediario, Siglo 21 and Radio Sonora as a reporter of Health and Life, Science and Technology, Culture, Economy and others.


Not all that glitters is gold

By Lucrecia Alfaro de Arredondo

Once upon a time there was a city where everyone bought products that fulfilled consumer expectations and multiplied satifised customers. That would be a sentence that would fit in with fantasy and be the utopia of brands and consumers.

I’ve always heard the sayings, “not all that glitters is gold” and “careful with wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

How can you apply these common sayings to the market of products and services? What are we up against as consumers? How can we handle tricky publicity and advertising?

Let’s put it in specific examples that consumers have to navigate through:

Example 1: Magical products

There are those magical products that can help improve your weight or physical appearance that claim to have you looking your best in one month with minimal effort. The brand is backed by experts that have an impressive title and other “clients” that have tested it and found excellent results.

Careful: no product is magical and cannot produce those kinds of results in that kind of time, and what’s worse, could be a health risk.

Example 2: Industrialization = money

Many brands flaunt job creation, wealth, and help to communities, but behind all of these benefits hide their environmental irresponsibility (destruction of flora and fauna and the displacement of some communities).

Behind the brand of oil, food, soda, or clothing, lies its entire history.

Example 3: Products that are bad for your health but come with a “warning”

From small stores to the best grocery stores, we find those products that on their label clearly have a warning about how they are bad for your health and can be consumed at your own risk. Products like alcoholic beverages that are branded as a tool for socializing, having a good time with friends, that are a perfect match to go with some foods and activities.

Similarly, cigarettes were also branded this way for decades: they were for sharing and brought some sort of status, depending on the brand and flavor.

Example 5: If you don’t have any money, take ours

The desire to want a good, or the need to opt out of a service because you don’t have the economic capacity, forces consumers to many times borrow money from businesses who so kindly offer many ways to obtain the amount you need, which includes interest. What they don’t explain is the fine print for service costs and interest rate.

I could go on with many more examples, but what is it that we should do to avoid the wolves in sheep’s clothing?

You have to be wary of those deals or brands that offer a very different amount more than its competitors, read the fine print, and if you hear a rumor about certain brands, it’s necessary to investigate it, there is no excuse. With the internet now, we can become responsible consumers and adquire goods and services that are compatible with our principles.

The common sense of the buyer has to develop to not become another number that falls for wolves in sheep’s clothing!

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