Puffing is the advertising technique of using exaggerated adjectives, which may or may not cause misleading. This advertising practice is not prohibited in cases where the exaggeration used is evident and harmless and does not have the animosity or capacity to deceive the consumer.
In this sense, the use of puffing should be limited to its legitimacy of use when it does not mislead the consumer or causes him to acquire what he does not want because it is excessive and abusive advertising. Therefore, when exaggeration is easily observed, there is legitimacy for use.
The brazilian doctrine understands that puffing is not prohibited, as it is represented “as flashy advertising, whose subjective or playful character does not allow it to be objectively seen as binding.”¹
To test whether or not there is a subjective criterion, which does not use a critical and individual assessment of the consumer. Thus, the personal element (personal opinion) will prevail, and consumers will choose the product according to their personal interests and motivations and will not respond to the exaggerations caused by puffing as “the best flavor”, “the film of the year” etc.
Additionally, as the puffing technique is very common when exaggeration is used to refer to the subjective elements of the product to which the ad refers, such as the expressions “the most delicious”, “the best flavor”, “the most welcoming”, and there is no need to demand proof of such statements, as consumers’ opinions about the product or service will certainly be different. For this reason, the consumer does not credit the ad for its exaggerated subjective character.
It can be used as an advertising technique when it is perfectly possible for the consumer to understand the exaggerated and sumptuous character of advertising, when it is, for example, an exaggeration that has a subjective aspect as its object.
If the exaggeration refers to an element that can be objectively measured and, after criteria have been established and the evaluation has been carried out, the object of the puffing does not correspond to the reality of the advertised product or service, advertising will be misleading.
If it’s considered a misleading information/advertisement, it can be fought by unfair competition supported by the brazilian law.
¹ JUNIOR, Nelson Nery. Os princípios gerais do Código Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor, Revista, p. 67
Lawyer Author of the Comment: Laís Iamauchi de Araujo
Source: The puffing advertising technique
“If you want to learn more about this topic, contact the author or the managing partner, Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”
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