Advertising in Disguise
All of us can recognize the 30-minute commercials thinly disguised as talk shows or news programs.
And if you read magazines, you're probably familiar with the advertorial - the advertisement designed to look like the editorial content of the magazine. If you look closely, you’ll see the required ''advertisement'' indicator at the top or bottom of the page.
But what about the handwritten note that comes in the mail urging you to try some new product? Or that fax from the law offices of so-and-so with a quick note from a ''friend'' telling you she's faxing you information about the product she had ''discussed'' with you a few days ago?
These ploys are a little more difficult to recognize, at least initially. Invariably, these are pitches for weight-loss gimmicks or some cream that's guaranteed to rid your body of cellulite forever.
In addition to testimonials, often included is a letter or some other official-looking document from a doctor or nutritionist offering assurances of safety and efficacy.
And then there's the pitch - a model-thin body and baby-smooth skin (or other unrealistic promise) can be yours for only $9.95 per month.
Many companies don't even bother to disclose the bottom line, which means buyers could be paying that $9.95 indefinitely.
Like phone calls from long-distance services or credit card companies during dinner, these letters and faxes are more than just inconvenient - they are an invasion.
And they can be costly if one doesn't pay attention to the fine print. Like ubiquitous sweepstakes entries, these personalized communications target older adults and others who are vulnerable to the lure of the quick fix.
But the only way companies will stop using these methods is if they don't work. Make those around you aware of these gimmicks and perhaps we will see an end to this advertising trend.
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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