Ritskowitz: Shame on Infomercial Makers Who Deceive
I couldn't agree more with John Ritskowitz's blog entry criticizing the marketers of a new anti-wrinkle product that was actually Nestle's Quik powder--yup, the chocolate breakfast drink of your childhood.
This was a test by NBC's Dateline, to see if they could find a marketing firm unscrupulous enough to take on the project despite dubious clinical results. And they did.
His blog includes a link to the Dateline report, which describes informercial scoundrels as "television terrorists."
Masquerading as a representative from "Johnston Products," a Dateline reporter contacted a marketing firm and told them up front that he didn't think the product would help many people, and that no clinical trials were run to test its effectiveness.
And what did the marketing firm think? They thought there wouldn't be a problem, as all that was needed was "somebody in a white coat" to give the impression that the product had been scientifically tested. That and a few paid testimonials.
The real shame was that the marketing firm then found a real doctor, a well-credentialed doctor, a hospital's Chef of Dermatology, in fact (Dr. Margaret Olsen, then of Santa Monica's St. John's Hospital), who gave a glowing endorsement without ever examining the product. Yuck!
Ritskowitz goes on to cite several other products that give marketers a bad name, and were eventually pulled off the market under government pressure.
I totally agree with is analysis that this deceitful crap makes it much harder for us legitimate marketers. And of course, I agree with his call to sign the Business Ethics Pledge, which I founded (big grin). We currently have signatories from 24 countries, and I'd love you to be the next to sign.