I know some magicians in the Philippines who bristle when such-and-such performer claims in his advertising that he is an “International Magician” or ” is a “Comedy Magician” or is an “Award Winning Magician.”
The list of claims is long. Some hold shreds of truth, but most border on the false and questionable.
This is hype in advertising. Many advertisers, not only magicians, resort to this ploy.
Because it is easy to exaggerate one’s qualities when there is a lack of them, and even much easier to bloat when there are lots of them.
To aspire to glow despite a dearth of distinctions must be the reason that some magicians in the Philippines rage when they stumble upon hype in advertising.
In the Philippines, the advertising industry has the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) as its watchdog. It monitors advertisements in the tri-media to make sure advertisers don’t go overboard with their hype to the point where they make false claims and promises. PANA‘s mission is to ensure truth in advertising.
Thus there are limits to how “white” a white dress can go when washed with a certain brand of laundry soap. A brand of cigarette that promises rugged Western living puts warning labels on its packaging, “Government Warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.” A herbal medicine that advertises as nostrum to all dreaded diseases puts out a disclaimer on its label, “No claimed therapeutic value.”
No such disclaimers, though, on advertisements of magicians who claim to be a “comedy magician” or an “international magician.” PANA would be happy if the comedy magician would append to its ad a “Joke Only” disclaimer, or the “International Magician” would burst the bubble with a conspiratorial wink.
(In a follow-up article, I will write why magicians in the Philippines are given to claiming they are “comedy magicians” or “International Magicians.”)
I don’t have problems with hype. I have used it occasionally when I’m not in my usual bashful mood.
My opening line for every show is, “Hi, my name is Leodini, the World Famous Magician…known only in my barangay.”
This always gets a laugh and sets the mood of my show. I’m confident I won’t offend any magician in the Philippines with this claim.
However, I must admit there are times I do stretch the truth. But when I do, I make sure I don’t stretch it to the point I annoy other magicians.
I have to sell my services. If I need to gild my lily to make the sale, I will. Other magicians in the Philippines might fume over it, but if I keep within the ethical limits, I need not fret over other magicians’ feelings.
How do I know I’m within the ethical bounds?
Perhaps the answer to that question is a good discussion for a future post.
Anyway, here’s one hype I’m probably guilty of. In May18, 2008, I wrote about Google’s ranking me on top of the search results for the term “Best Magician in the Philippines.” In December 10, 2010, I wrote a related article titled, “Leodini, the Best Magician in the Philippines.”
I didn’t claim that I’m the best magician in the Philippines. It’s just that Google puts me up there when you search for that term. How and why Google does that, I have no freakin’ idea. I’m an SEO ignoramus. But it’s cool to be up there on Google. It’s always cool when Google ranks one’s site on top of the search results.
But…(here’s the “but” coming)…even though I didn’t make the claim, I keep repeating this high-ranking for all the world to know. That’s where the hype comes in. Somebody’s making the claim of my distinction, I just repeat it ad nauseam.
I come out with clean hands. The advertising police in the magic community is confounded.