ILLUSION OR DECEPTION:
THE USE OF "PROPS" AND "MOCK-UPS"
IN TELEVISION ADVERTISING
Bruce E. Fritch
An ice-cream manufacturer, hoping to advertise his goods on television, can hire the most creative agency and use the most advanced technical equipment, but still be unable to show the world his product. A few minutes under hot studio lights and he finds himself extolling the virtues of vanilla "consommé," hardly a gourmet's delight. He has lost what is sometimes called the "Unique Selling Proposition," a product's most salient and saleable quality. 1 But the plight of the ice-cream maker is not unique, for the technical difficulties confronting him are not peculiar to his product. Blue shirts, for example, look white on television; butter looks like white oleomargarine. To compensate, television advertisers successfully have used props and mock-ups, designed to appear on television as their products do in real life. The death-knell of this practice, however, may recently have been tolled by the Federal Trade Commission in Colgate Palmolive Co., the "sandpaper" case. 2
Involved was the legality of a television commercial in which Palm-____________________