To start with I would say that people ARE likely to be misled by advertisements, but that does not mean that advertisements deliberately mislead people. Advertisements are a creative and symbolic ways to attract people or to grab their attention, and if the figurative medium—textual, graphical or artistic—is misconstrued, misunderstood, or misinterpreted by people, then the blame lies not on the advertisers, but on the people, who out of ignorance could not see through that creative piece of marketing gimmick.
Moreover, I feel that it would be wrong to censor advertisements, as it might lead to a deliberate suppression of someone’s creativity. Legislators must understand the difference between creative attempt to win someone’s attention and conceited attempt to deliberately misguide someone. In each advertisement, a cautionary message informing the viewers or the readers about the purpose of the advertisement, or a warning note on how to interpret that advertisement would better help the viewers understand and appreciate the purpose of those particular advertisements.
Children are most vulnerable to advertisements that have violence or bizarre and life-threatening theatricals in them; to counter this vulnerability, parents and teachers must take up the responsibility of educating children about the purpose and the illusory effects of such advertisements. By taking these steps, we not only educate people and children on how to interpret such visual phenomena but also encourage the artists in the creative industry to experiment with their ideas and thoughts.
Taking all these points into consideration, I would still demand strong legal measures that discourage companies and advertisers from deliberately hiding information or misrepresenting facts in order to gain any kind of competitive advantage. At the same time, advertisements aimed at the general public must have complete and correct information about the products, their contents, their effects, and side-effects, if any.
Finally, to conclude I would say that we must not be rigid with things that are understood and don’t need much explanation; unnecessary draconian laws won’t do much good; and, instead of solving problems, they would become barriers to business and entertainment.