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The Truth About Ads

The Truth About Ads


By: Jackie

The Truth About Ads

How many ads do you think you see in one day? The answer might surprise you. Digital marketing research has estimated that American consumers are exposed to between 3,000 and 20,000 marketing messages a day your BBB® has learned. This includes ads on TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and brand labels on food and clothing products, toys, tools, etc. How can consumers sort out the good ads from the misleading ones?

Your BBB is here to help with BBB AdTruth. It is “an awareness campaign that helps consumers be alert about potential advertising abuses and to think before acting or reacting impulsively to an advertised offer that could cause financial or personal harm due to misleading tactics or faulty products.”

Ever since merchants began selling merchandise, there have been false claims made by unethical businesses. Think of the snake oil salesmen in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  There were no rules governing advertising; a merchant could basically claim anything. Someone needed to do something, and that’s when the BBB started—to combat advertising abuses—and we’ve been doing it for over 100 years.

Here are some of the things consumers can do on BBB AdTruth:

We encourage you to explore BBB AdTruth. In addition to filling out the online report form when you spot false advertising, we ask that you please share the ad on social media with the hashtag #AdTruth to help raise awareness.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.