Dalhousie Law Journal


Promise, advertisement, common law, law of contract.


I "Promise, great promise," said Dr. Johnson, "is the soul of advertisement." But what if the promise isn't kept? What sort of crime is that? No crime at all, at common law. The common law allotted promises and their breach not to the criminal law but to the law of contract. More important still, the law saw the problem of advertising as part of a wider problem to be solved not by law but by a different institution - the market. The problem of advertising, after all, is one special facet of the conflict between seller and buyer.' According to orthodox economic theory each seeks to maximise his own interest - the seller to get the highest price, the buyer the best buy. Hence the need for advertisement. For the seller must maximise his persuasion of the buyer, while the buyer must maximise his information about the product.

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Contracts Commons