4 Examples of Misleading Business Ads (Plus Tips on How to Spot Them). According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans spend billions of dollars every year on supplements, foods, and devices in hopes help them with improving their health and fitness. Many of these products don’t live up to their advertising claims.
There are multitudes of shady advertisers out there who will say just about anything to get customers to buy their products. With COVID-19 social distancing protocols forcing everyone to stay home, the majority of business and purchasing transactions have mostly been done online where fraudulent items are more easily masked.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local governments have warned consumers to be on the lookout for scammers determined to make a profit off of our current global crisis.
Here are 4 recent examples of misleading health and fitness advertisements plus tips on how to spot a fake ad when you see one.
Sensa Weight-Loss Products
Sensa weight loss “crystals” gained instant popularity in the year 2009 when Dr. Alan Hirsch published the Sensa Weight-Loss Program: The Accidental Discovery That’s Transforming the Way People Lose Weight.
The product claimed that its powdered additives — food flakes that are made from maltodextrin, tricalcium phosphate, silica, and flavors — had the ability to enhance the smell and taste of food, thus making users feel full and eat less. Hirsch claimed that these crystals send signals to your brain to stop eating and that this weight-loss method was backed by independent research.
In 2014, however, the FTC caught wind of their fraudulent advertisements and fined the company a $26.5 million settlement.
Coca-Cola falsely claimed that its Vitaminwater products could promote healthy joints, reduce the risk of eye disease, and provide 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C as well as other vitamins to users. The company has since then agreed to change all Vitaminwater product labels.
New Balance Training Shoes
New Balance’s shoes, which were originally sold at around $100, were first introduced in 2010 and promoted as a pair of “stylish toning shoes that looked like regular sneakers.”
New Balance declared that its TrueBalance and Rock&Tone lines “activated” specific parts of the lower body with its soles that made it difficult to stay balanced as if the wearer were “running on sand.” In its ads, New Balance dubbed its shoes a “hidden beauty secret,” promising users that these shoes helped the wearer burn 8%t more calories than their regular sneakers.
However, on August 20, 2012, a Massachusetts judge agreed to let New Balance pay $2.3 million to settle false advertising claims filed against the company by three women in 2011. These women were Kimberly Carey, Victoria Molinarolo, and Shannon Dilbeck, who each got $5000 as settlement, according to court documents.
Pure Green Coffee Antioxidant Capsules
Nicholas Scott Congleton and his colleagues Paul Pascual and Bryan Walsh claimed that their “Pure Green Coffee” helped with weight-loss. The company also used fake news organizations superimposed with logos from actual media outlets to reinforce its bogus declarations. Dr. Oz, too, endorsed this product on his t.v. program and was later summoned to appear in front of a Senate’s Consumer Protection panel to defend his actions.
“Not only did these defendants trick consumers with their phony weight-loss claims,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, “they also compounded the deception by advertising on pretend news sites, making it impossible for people to know whether they were seeing news or an ad.”
How to Spot Fake Ads
Check the Domain Name
Be wary of sites that try to imitate legitimate sites such as “amazonnet.com” or “amazOn.com.”
Do a Quick Background Check
If you come across an ad with an unfamiliar domain name, that’s usually a clear sign of its illegitimacy. Do a quick background check before you click on any clickbait-y ads.
Look for Small Things
Although scams have become more sophisticated nowadays, there may still be tell-tale signs that can prove their fraudulence. Keep an eye out for typos or any slight variations in product names and labels.
Question the Lack of Information
Beware of ads that seem deliberately vague and dubious. Scammers often use this method of advertising to entice users to sign up or purchase fake products.
Trust Your Instincts
If an ad seems too good to be true, it probably is. If your gut is telling you to step away, it’s best that you listen and avoid any unnecessary costs.
If you’re having trouble deciding how to begin or feel like you don’t have enough energy, there’s no need to worry. Start with the easiest workout and pair it with good and reliable workout supplements to give you that needed energy boost. For a start, check out this review on Blackwolf pre-workout for an advanced 100% transparent formula designed to enhance male and female athletes’ performance and recovery.
But remember, supplements like this one do not work in a vacuum. There are no shortcuts to long-lasting wellness.
To achieve something that’s worthwhile, you will have to abandon many things. In health and fitness, that means giving up junk-food that can harm your health and cause weight gain or abandoning old habits like binge eating and not exercising
If you want to be healthier and more fit, instead of cutting corners why not consider doing a complete audit of your entire lifestyle?
Exercise and healthy-eating provide individuals with a myriad of health benefits, including:
- A healthier heart
- Better cholesterol levels
- Stronger immune system
- And more!
See you at the finish line of this race to a healthier you!