Anecdotes in Life and Advertising

Anything happen to you lately, or even some time ago, that you’ve turned into a good story?

When telling about your experience, you’re sharing an anecdote – what Merriam-Webster defines as a “short story about an interesting or funny event.”

Sometimes there are stories heard from family members or friends that deserve to be passed on as well. A person doesn’t usually open the conversation by saying, “Here’s a little anecdote for you,” but that’s what it is.

TV ads use customers’ personal success stories about products or services. Who doesn’t know by now that Marie Osmond lost 50 pounds with Nutrisystem!

We can be pretty sure, however, that such “anecdotal evidence” (i.e., one person’s experience as proof for everyone) is not always trustworthy. points out that other customers very often fail to get the same positive results claimed by one person who is often a celebrity. For that reason, advertisers insert disclaimers in the small print that is easily overlooked.

In the case of weight loss pills, for example, the whole story about people who lose significant weight while using a particular product may not be told. They may also change their diets and/or follow an exercise program but neglect to mention such facts.

Anecdotes are a part of everyday life and communication. They take many forms and serve many purposes.

Find more interesting stuff about anecdotes here.




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