Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FTC to require advertisers to show "typical results"

This is about fucking time, I say.
Subway spokesman and occasional thin guy Jared Fogle may soon be out of work thanks to a new FTC rule banning commercial testimonials that warn "results not typical" or "individual results may vary." Under the new rule, marketers using, say, body builders to advertise weight loss pills are also going to have to show an average lardass whose results might be more typical. You can guess how advertisers are reacting to the change...

I've been saying for a long time now that if assvertisers had to show the actual people who buy these products before they bought them, while they were using them, and the actual results of using them, those results would be so dismal that people would know it's not an actuality that's being sold to them, it's a fucking pipe dream that isn't about to come true (not permanently anyway, and probably not safely either). And WTF is up with saying assvertisers need to show "an average lardass"? Talk about stereotyping the people who are spending their hard-earned dollars on this bullshit. Not only do we get no respect just because we're fat, now we get no respect because we're buying into the assvertisers' claims in order to get thin enough to get the respect we can't get any other way (maybe whacking these morons up side the head with a clue by four might work?).
The revisions have drawn sharp criticism from product manufacturers, advertising agencies and trade groups who say it is the "aspirational" theme of their ads that motivates consumers to purchase their goods. Show less than the ultimate achievement, they say, and consumers are less likely to buy.

No shit, Sherlock. You aren't selling something that actually works, you're selling a dream that people want to work, and are willing to fork over the bucks in hopes that they'll be one of the few in that "results not typical" that loses the weight and keeps it off forever (yeah, which is why those assvertisers always have new spokespeople for every new commercial, because the people who said they used the product successfully didn't stay successful forever).
I don't advise reading the comments after this article, too many of the commenters have drunk the OMGOBESITYEPI-PANIC kool-aid and have bought the hype shouted by those assvertisers and big pharma and the medical community who have their eyes on their bottom line and are ignoring the health of the people to whom they pitch their snake oil in favor of lining their pockets with billions of our dollars.
WeightWatchers, Nutrasystem, Jenny Craig, WLS, Bowflex, and any other company selling gym equipment, diets, or surgery as a guaranteed way to get and stay thin/healthy may just go out of business if these rules are adopted and they have to obey "truth in advertising". Or maybe I'm being too optimistic about the sense that people who buy this shit really have. Are they so invested in getting thin (at any cost) that each and every one of them will think that they are in that 5% of people who successfully lose weight and can keep it off more than 5 years, despite all the evidence to the contrary?
I would love to see a commercial for Bowflex that has a person like me using it the way those tanned, ripped, toned hotties in their current commercials supposedly do. I would bet my life that someone like me would never get even close to looking like one of them just by using a Bowflex for 15 to 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week (well, maybe in 20 or 30 years, but certainly not in 6 weeks, let alone 6 months).
I want to see all those past spokespeople for all those diets and what they look like now (because what do you want to bet that NONE of them are still following any of those diets, and NONE of them have managed to maintain that so-called *cough*photo-shopped*cough* weight loss?).

H/T to Dizzy at I'm Jus' A Lil' Dizzy!--Dizzy Dayz: Keeping Up With Our Spinning World


  1. "Are they so invested in getting thin (at any cost) that each and every one of them will think that they are in that 5% of people who successfully lose weight and can keep it off more than 5 years, despite all the evidence to the contrary?"


    "I would love to see a commercial for Bowflex that has a person like me using it the way those tanned, ripped, toned hotties in their current commercials supposedly do."

    I would absolutely love that too. It probably won't happen in our lifetimes, but maybe in our children's? Imagine something being advertised by telling us that it will make us stronger and more flexible and help us feel healthier and more energetic, regardless of our appearance... rather than just telling us that it will make us look like a bodybuilder.

  2. Well, as far as Bowflex is concerned, the "bowflex grandma" did a heck of a lot more training than just using that machine 15 minutes a day. I think she was on a 4/4 freeweights split with somewhere around 45 minutes of cardio every day.

    That's high-end athlete training. Nuttin' WRONG with doing that, if that's your kink, but it's hardly a moral imperative.

  3. I just wanted to say thank you! I come here for all of my plus size news. I used to be a model, and a plus size one at that. Now I am heavier but happier. Who would've ever thought actually eating could be good?

    These ads are sickening and debilitating to young women everywhere.

  4. There was a time when truth in advertising was the norm. Those who failed to be honest about the merits of their product were swiftly bankrupted by the lack of sales as word of mouth got out.

    Today, we hear the media tell us over and over again that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. In other words, trust no one.

    I'm sure the opposers of this requirement will spout off about free market practices and the loss of profits,etc, etc. It infuriates me that the general public is expected and required to be honest with those they do business with (address, ph number, age, ss number, income, etc.), yet it's a given that business can and will do anything they can to get you to buy their product, with no recourse except a class action lawsuit that lasts years and years, and usually ends with the company denying any wrongdoing.

    I am so sick of the double standard. First, I have to do my homework if I want to buy something to ensure that little children in El Salvador did not work 19 hours a day to make this product. Then, I have to try and read the fine print at the bottom of a commercial or in magazines-which is a big fail for these 42 yr old bifocaled eyes. Next I have to Google the product and read various reviews, discerning through my crystal ball which ones are true reviews and not paid for by the company. And lastly, I have to lower my expectations about the product in the first place, because hey, every body is different dontcha know?

    The problem with businesses and corporations today is directly related to the shift in the mindset of the heads of these companies. What once was an "Owner" mentality is now an "Investor" mentality. Meaning...we dont give a shit about the value, quality, or truthfulness of our product, we are only concerned with how much money it has made for our investors at the top. Most CEO's last 3-5 years at one company, moving on to the next one with a cushy contract that guarantees their ungodly salary, bonus and stock benefit amounts, without regard to how poorly they ran that company, or the shittiness of their product.

    Ok..rant over. Amen.

  5. Wonderful post!

    I wish I could believe that advertisers will adhere to the truth in advertising bit but I have no doubt that a loop hole will be found and that this will never come to fruition. There is just too much money to be had to not lie about a product to make it seem more appealing.

    Lawyers for corporations and businesses are working late nights as we speak to figure out a way to present their product using their special language to get just past the censors on this. I guarantee it.

    Maybe it's just my negativity talking but I'll have to see this to believe it.


  6. spacedcowgirl - yeah, I used to be one of those who thought I'd be in that teensy tiny percentage of successful dieters, so I shouldn't be surprised that others think that way too :(

    mama-hogswatch - yeah, I figured the Bowflex granny did a LOT more training than the commercial said, which why the truth-in-advertising is upsetting those companies so much.

    textualfury - thanks, what I don't cover, the blogs I read do, most of the time, so it's all good. And yeah, they start brainwashing early, for sure.

    Regina - Advertisers are good at finding ways around the FTC's rules and regulations, that's nothing new. While this sounds nice, and would be great if it works like it's intended to, I'm just too cynical to believe it's going to happen, or if it does happen, that it lasts for very long.

    sassyblonde - Oh yeah, they're working on ways around it already, I know they are. And a couple of other bloggers who have posted about this have listed a couple of ways (like Weight Watchers and their "stop dieting, start living" and not using actual people or giving specific examples). You know when a diet company stops using people as before and after examples and won't say anything specific, their product isn't going to work any better now than it did in the past, but they won't be able to be censured for their ads. It's a shame, but more people need to be like those of us who adhere to "buyer beware" and "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". Advertisers aren't selling results, they're selling dreams. Which is why I don't watch commercials because I've gotten so skeptical about those claims that I don't believe any of them anymore, not even the ones for laundry soap or dish soap or body wash or deoderant, and if I'm not going to believe those claims, why should I believe claims that are intended to make me think I can change my body permanently?

  7. LOL... "assvertisers"... love it!
    I'm sure the dillholes will just start making their adverts in cartoon form... an even less realistic protrayal than they are using now.
    I remember some quote from Einstein... forgive me if I butcher it a bit... it was something like "unlike stupidity, genius has its limits"... which makes me think that it is highly unlikely that diet ads will be backed in a corner by this... their stupidity and greed seriously knows no bounds.


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