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Advertisement Fallacies and Wishful Thinking

Critical thinking is very important as it enables a person to think rationally and make wise choices. The most important aspect I have learned in critical thinking is how to be wary of fallacies, specifically wishful thinking fallacies in advertisements for women’s products. This means that before I make any purchase, I will do my own research and not believe everything that is said in advertising campaigns. I will focus on how advertisements use wishful thinking fallacies to create a false sense of belief, specifically about women’s products.

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A fallacy constitutes an “error in thinking” (Dowden, 2010, p.1). Fallacies are persuasive, and most people believe them. Some fallacies are created to confuse or deceive people. Therefore, a fallacy may be used to “indicate any false belief or cause of a false belief” (Dowden, 2010, p.1). Fallacies are used in the advertisement to appeal to people and make them buy the products being advertised.

The fallacy of appeal to authority leads people to believe things that are said by people in authority without question. For example, a movie star or a sports personality such as Tiger Woods is used to endorse products. Some people will buy the endorsed products not because the figure of authority is an expert in the products but due to his or her appeal. For example, it is fallacious when a figure of authority endorses a product that they have no knowledge about for the sake of advertising.

For instance, one may endorse a motorbike, yet they have never ridden any motorbike before. Thus, it is important to be suspicious of what the figures in authority say and not take everything they say as the gospel truth and do some research before we rush to buy some products.

In advertisements, the makers play on the insecurities of the target audience. For example, some advertisements show the women that they are not pretty enough or good enough. To become good enough, they are told they must use certain products to achieve the desired results. This can be seen in many advertisements for products targeted at women. In some cases, the women are promised results that will make them the envy of every woman and attract more men as the products will increase their likeability. Thus, many women fall prey to the fallacy of wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking means to believe something because one wishes the conclusion to be real (Dowden, 2010). The women who buy products because they are promised good results buy and use them in the hope that the end results will be true according to the claims of the advertisement. They buy the products without proof of how the product really works, but just because they hope the results will be positive.

In wishful thinking advertisers use the fallacy of red herring by introducing things that are unrelated in the their advertisement campaigns for example telling the women that the hair products they use will increase their likeability is unrelated because one can be likeable regardless of the hair products they use. However, the women belief this claim by not questioning the argument as it is easier to be positive than to start digging for the truth in the claim.

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Advertisers will continue to use fallacies to persuade the target groups to buy products. As long as they can make the people believe that they need the products they will also have ready market, as people will buy the products. However, it is important to do a research on a product before buying things that promise to do wonders and yet they may not and end up losing a lot of money.


Dowden, B. (2010). Fallacies. Web.

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