Health-related infomercials and ads are dominating the advertisement world right now. Why? Well, because people are continuing to buy into the hype. The industry is booming right now with people looking for a quick fix to get into the best shape of their lives. The problem is Americans are lazy- we all know that. Because of this, they will look for any shortcut available to get what they want, and unfortunately when it comes to health there are no shortcuts.
Now let me start off by saying I am not a marketing expert, nor do I have any personal vendettas against infomercials or advertisements. However, I do like to believe I have quite a bit of common sense and I have seen thousands of different health advertisements making ridiculous claims, so I want to help those of you who may not see what I see.
First things first, are all advertisements bogus? Absolutely not! In fact, a lot of the stuff you see is true. The secret of advertising is the ability to stretch the truth- I mean, it’s not lying if it is technically true, right? I’ll let you be the judge of that; I’m not here to deal with morality. So below I have laid out basic tips on what to look out for when deciding if an advertisement is legitimate.
1) READ THE FINE PRINT!
I cannot emphasis this enough. In virtually every single advertisement, there is fine print. Open up a magazine and read that little writing down there on the bottom of the page, that’s where all the hidden secrets lay. Unfortunately, the fine print in commercials does not need to stay up for very long so it may be hard to read. If you have a DVR then lucky you! Pause that sucker and read what they don’t want you to. A common message for weight-loss ads is, “these results are not common and results will vary.” Ah, good to know.
2) Scientific Studies Are Bogus
Okay, maybe not all studies, but boy are these marketers good at presenting these studies. You see all the pretty bar graphs and pie charts and it looks like they really put a lot of work into researching this product! Again, please read the fine print. It’s possible that the sample size was 10 people, or they tested on rats, yadda yadda. Or another popular study you might see is something along the lines of “proven 10 times more effective than a regular crunch!” I love that one. Usually that statement is true, but what’s the catch? You still need to workout! If, say, you buy an “ab roller”, which claims to be 15 times more effective than a crunch, that does not mean you could do 15 times less the amount of work to obtain results. It just means you will get a better workout than lying on the floor and doing a crunch, which makes sense.
3) Testimonials, Photos and Endorsements Mean Nothing
“(insert celebrity name here) says he used the belly-buster for 5 weeks and saw amazing results!” Wow, that’s awesome! And I say I have 14 toes! Point being, it is most likely not true. People get paid by companies to say nice things about the products. I buy “MaxClarity” products, which is an acne medication, and they get sent to me every month. Because of this, I received a letter in the mail by the company offering to fly me out to California to be in an infomercial about the product. Sounds awesome, I know (I didn’t do it), but I was offered that gig without them even seeing what I look like! That’s how every single infomercial works. Which brings me to my next point- Photoshop is an incredible tool. I happen to be quite good at Photoshop, and I cannot tell you how easy it is to clear someone of acne, whiten their teeth, slim them down, eliminate stretch marks, lighten their hair, and so on. I could make a before and after photo of any one of you and make you look obese and then absolutely shredded. Do not be fooled.
4) Some Products Really Do Work
I may make it sound like all advertisements are absurd and you shouldn’t believe them, but that is not my intention. There are people that label every single abdominal product as a “gimmick” and that is not true at all. I’ve seen many advertisements for the “Ab Wheel” and I’ve read the ridiculous claims. However, I just recently purchased one myself. I don’t expect to use it and wake up with washboard abs, but I do it in addition to my current weight-training program. Some of the products out there actually give you a really good workout, but they have to be used in addition to a regular training program and proper diet. The same goes with diet pills. It is crazy to think that you can take a pill and burn fat, but many of the pills can actually help you lose water weight. If you take these products in addition to a steady cardio program and diet, it is very likely that you will see results (but please don’t expect a miracle).
5) If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Is.
Buy an Ab Belt, wear it while you’re sitting at your desk, NEVER do a single sit-up, and get the perfect midsection. Sounds too good to be true, right? Yeah, it is. Buy a cream, spread it on your stomach and watch as the fat tightens up. Ah, I guess they discovered real magic! If you’re skeptical about a product, odds are you have good reason to be. Please remember this all-important tip:
No matter how good a product is, NOTHING can replace diet and exercise.
I cannot stress this enough. Some products may be great for you, but they MUST be used in addition to diet and exercise.
So if you see an advertisement and are interested in the product, make sure you look a little closer at the messages they are sending (or hiding, for that matter). All the information you need is right in front of you; you just need to know what you’re looking for.
Please feel free to leave me any comments, concerns, questions, or additional thoughts on the subject. Or if you just want to chat…I get bored.