Common marketing gimmicks that brands should avoid to exploit consumers

It isn’t a surprise for the brands to use wily tactics to grab attention from the average consumer, but at times it goes beyond a point that brings the question of whether these practices are justified. In this article, we have tried to bring some of those sly marketing tactics that brands use to mislead consumers.

Published:Tue, December 07, 2021 8:30pm

By Meghna Dutta


There's no doubt that smartphones have evolved to an extent that they now dominate most parts of our life. But with the advancement in technology tech brands have become the Machiavellian in town with terminology. While it isn't a surprise for the brands to use wily tactics to grab attention from the average consumer, at times it goes beyond a point that brings the question of whether these practices are justified.

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While using fake photos to promote products, flash sales flattery has long been criticized, manufacturers have just improvised the game adding jargon in the list, that barely makes much sense. With years gone by some of these sketchy tactics were put under the lid for good, but there are still a few questionable practices that are quite often overlooked. If you are unable to spot them, we would suggest reading this article.


Gimmicks that brands should avoid to mislead consumers

Big on megapixel count yet can't get a fine billboard print

Smartphone manufacturers no doubt seem to be pushing limits of camera resolution within a mobile phone, and 108-megapixel was agreed upon (by the brands) to be the trendsetter for this year. But we are still a few days away to mettre le pied the new year, and grapevine telegraph sources out the next batch of smartphones to likely have a huge 200-megapixel sensor. But does the megapixel count really matter? Does it help to improve smartphone photography?


Let me explain it in a much simpler term as possible. Smartphone cameras and software have evolved to an extent that you can now get decent shots even with a mid-range smartphone. But with Chinese brands going gaga over high-megapixel sensors, it made me wonder if these ridiculously high MP sensors are actually worth the say. Cameras need light to produce photos, and the larger (physically) the sensor, the merrier. The sensor pixel is equally responsible for light-gathering ability. While a sensor is divided into millions of pixels, not all pixels are created equally and with the high-res of a given sensor, the pixels will be proportionally smaller, henceforth the photos miss out on colour accuracy and details in low lighting conditions.

Most of the smartphones that boast this high-megapixel count have a small-sensor camera and these devices rely on quad Bayer filter. I wouldn't go into technicality, as a 64MP or a 48MP smartphone camera's output speak for itself. If one is to compare, the pixel-binned image from a 108MP sensor retains improvement in detail against a 12MP sensor. But the outcome is commendatory only with good lighting. Low light is a tricky business, and this is where an iPhone or for that matter a Pixel phone fares, as the rendering relies on software, algorithms. With pixel-binning still struggling on this part, Samsung's ISOCELL HP1 sensor that uses a new Chameleon Cell pixel-binning technology that is expected to help upcoming smartphones to excel at low-light photography. But we are yet to see results, and with the zoom metrics turning awfully bad, it's better not to keep hopes high.

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AI in sham

AI is another sly marketing trick that is often used by brands on their mobile phones across different price ranges. The AI labeling can be found in almost every other mid-range Chinese smartphone. Of course, the AI functionality relies on a software algorithm to unlock a device, but when it comes to photography it boosts the colour to an extent that it defeats the purpose of justifying the terminology. Moreover, scene recognition is nothing new, but brands promote AI in a way that seems to bake a rather vague culture of innovation. While such an adroit technique may have earned some applause in the past, the smart work of software fails when compared with Apple or Google's hardware-driven features.


ANC: Can we have a bit more transparency?

ANC or broadly termed as active noise cancellation has been actively used by many leading brands these days. In today's era buying a pair of wireless earbuds doesn't cost a hefty sum. And with manufacturers been putting an effort to improve the tech and bring quality products for their consumers. But devoid of how transparent a charging case or the earphone stem is, ANC still feels to be another gimmick that brands should avoid confusing consumers.

With combined software, hardware tricks, and by using microphones, ANC reduces the surround sound by picking the low-frequency noise and neutralizing it before it reaches your ear. But here's the caveat, the tech works in tandem with low-frequency sound, with the high-pitched sound ANC is as feeble as a neonate (pun intended). Further, the ANC barely improves the audio quality, which is where most budget earbuds falter in delivering the promised output. While most brands tout this noise-canceling feature, the cheap earphone misses out on rendering higher-resolution music. Besides, the feature leads to a reduction in battery life which means you have to compromise both on quality and backup, just for one futile aspect.

While it's disappointing to see how some brands can go to an extent with these 'cheap thrills,' most of these gimmicks seem to be working in their favour. But the audience is now more aware and can differentiate these clever marketing tactics than ever before. While there's a lack of transparency around such practices, brands should consider changing their approach as consumers no longer fall for false promises and 'astounding claims.' That said, in case we have missed out on any marketing tactic used by the brands, let us know in the comment section below.

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