Unregulated terms contribute to the idea of “clickbait”



A Honest Tea with a misleading “Just a tad sweet” emblem on it.

 Everyone in the modern-day world knows what clickbait is: the act of when you click a video on YouTube, but the video title or thumbnail tricked you into believing something that wasn’t true or wasn’t intended in the video. What’s even more frustrating is when normal citizens can be tricked by obscure unregulated terms.

Big corporations manipulate consumers into thinking they are eating or consuming something better for them or something having more value to them.

— Finn Willis

Unregulated terms like “pasture-raised,” “grass-fed,” and “fat-free” are phrases to exaggerate the meaning of a product. In a way, unregulated terms are to appear more attractive to a consumer so the consumer seems more attracted and enticed to buy the product. Unregulated terms can also lie or stretch the meaning of their product and how it was made to make the product look more presentable.

According to Business News Daily, “Using imagery and word associations is a great way to attract attention to your company brand. For instance, if you are looking to target young people, you may use popular phrases and memes as a part of your campaign. This causes your audience to associate your product with things they already see as hip and trendy.”

The use of unregulated terms took this ideology, manipulated it, and turned it upside down. Many brands like Snapple and Honest Tea use terms like “lightly sweetened,” “less sweet,” “just a tad sweet,” “slightly sweet,” and “sorta sweet” which all mirror the idea that they all have an unrealistic amount of sugar in them. Unregulated terms were found on a Crystal Light canister marking it “natural.” It has plenty of artificial additives, sweeteners, and a much bigger plethora of items than what would consider “natural.”

According to The New York Times, “We use the word “phishing” as a metaphor for a range of seemingly harmless modern market manipulations—like putting candy bars and gossip magazines at the checkout counter where bored or tired adults and the parents of whining children will be tempted to spend a few extra dollars, and we coined the word “phool” to describe someone who does not understand how much thought and effort have gone into manipulating him or her.”

Unregulated terms have been a way to pull consumers in like Tug-o-War. Big corporations manipulate consumers into thinking they are eating or consuming something better for them or something having more value to them.

The only takeaway I see from huge brands using this tactic is for the mere purpose of financial gain. The consumers that fall into these traps of “natural” or “organic” products possibly make them pay more money. According to Consumer Reports, “On average, organic foods were 47 percent more expensive, but the range was huge.”

The financial gain of huge corporations manipulating consumers into thinking that what they are consuming is beneficial to their health is truly exponential. Consumers aren’t true experts on these “natural” products before seeing them in the store and buying them. Companies should be more reasonable and honest in how they represent their products to the public and how they perceive them.