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#1 - Consumer advocate: Businesses are typically motivated

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:00 pm
by ngreen221
Hello PS,

I am using the 6 month self-study plan and went through PrepTest 53 (Dec. 2007) untimed. Starting off with this question was really tough for me, maybe because I wasn't expecting it or something, but either way, I got it wrong. I narrowed the choices to C and E and took what I call the "so what" approach to the question. When I saw C and read that "many consumers have a cynical attitude toward advertising" I asked myself "so what" trying to make the argument personal. To me, the consumer's current attitudes didn't really strengthen the conclusion that they should be skeptical of claims, but apparently it does. I can also see why answer choice E doesn't strengthen the argument either though. Can I please get an explanation?

Thank you!

Re: #1 - Consumer advocate: Businesses are typically motivat

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:08 pm
by Dave Killoran
Hi N,

Thanks for the question! Let's start by paraphrasing the stimulus, which states that businesses want to make as much money as possible, and advertising helps to do that. But, being honest isn't part of that goal, so we can conclude that consumers should be skeptical of ads.

I can immediately think of problems with this argument, and the most obvious one that occurs to me is that lying—if discovered—could have a severe backlash on the business, hurting profits.

The summary of the stimulus isn't too tough, but then they throw a tougher-than-average question stem at you, a Strengthen Except. So we want to eliminate any answers that Strengthen the argument, and find an answer that either has no effect on the argument or Weakens the argument.

Answer choice (A): If businesses know that inaccurate info helps maximize profit, and max profit is their goal, this suggests they will run bad ads. this strengthens the argument and is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This answer shows that the concern over ad content is legitimate, strengthening the idea that consumers should be skeptical.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer. The fact that many consumers already have a cynical attitude towards advertising doesn't tell us whether they should all have that attitude. In other words, the argument presents a case for why consumers should be skeptical, it isn't affected by whether many consumers already have that attitude. Here's a rough analogy:
  • Environmentalist: The use of gasoline is bad for the environment, and cars use gasoline. Therefore consumers should not drive cars.

    Answer choice (C): Many consumers already don't drive cars.

    While this response is helpful to the overall point of helping the environment, it doesn't address the environmentalist's point that people shouldn't drive cars.
Answer choice (D): This answer shows that the ad makers are more concerned about creativity than accuracy. Anything that shows that accuracy isn't a top priority will help the argument about being skeptical, and so this answer strengthens the argument and is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This answer shows that the penalties for being inaccurate are often inapplicable, again making it more likely that an ad might contain incorrect info.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!