The law is not effective in forcing the advertisers to communicate complete and
reliable information about advertised products: the mere inclusion of written disclosures
does not guarantee their successful perception, let alone comprehension.
TV commercials are especially troublesome in this respect, because not only are the
disclaimers presented in microscopic font size, but their display time challenges the
perceptive abilities of even the most effi cient readers, not to mention the distracting
effect of the simultaneously presented visual images and voice-overs. Yet, their
effective comprehension could very often signifi cantly modify the overall message
and in this way lead to altered (often in a way unfavourable for the advertiser)
persuasive effect. The study presents the ways in which the small print components
interact with the information presented by means of the more conspicuous linguistic
and pictorial items in a collection of 20 Polish TV commercials for erection stimulants.
In particular, attention is given to the potential changes in the communicated
message in the conditions of full comprehension and intake of the small print items.