When I use facebook, there are often 'suggested posts' or other advertisements that I have requested be hidden because they are 'misleading.' They ask for your reasons with a few options given.
Here's what it says:
The biggest offenders are the advertisements for 'natural' medicines. There is almost never the slightest evidence that they work.
And there were general merchants as well. The picture opposite is an actual wagon of a travelling merchant in Australia. (Stockmen's Hall of Fame, Longreach.) Dava Singh would have had medicines for Dropsy and for Rheumatism and for 'Women's Troubles.' With little education, the people of the times would have put some faith in the 'snake oil.'
Today? I do not understand that so many of us are just as willing to believe in outrageous claims today.
Pretend remedies are not the only products that use lies in their ads. Cosmetics and beautifiers can be worse, but outrageous claims are expected with these, no matter what lies they are. Cleaning products are also bad - things that you only have to spray on and forget? Well, spray as much as you want, but that it will all be sparkling clean afterwards? I don't believe it.
Look at these - are they misleading? Or are they out and out lies?
‘Dr. O reveals $5 wrinkle trick that’s making Botox doctors furious’
‘lose four KGs instantly with a cleanse.’
‘miracle fruit burns fat’
‘learn four tricks to never store carbs as fat’
‘follow this simple diet trick to burn off your unwanted belly fat without any intense diet’
‘learn how to treat aches and pains with chili.’
‘Desperate mum discovers $4 secret that has Botox doctors furious.’
‘one tip to remove wrinkles’
‘Dieticians are marvelling at this 3 week fat-blasting technique.’
‘End Rheumatoid Arthritis. 100% guaranteed.’
All nonsense. Snake Oil promises.
Truth in Advertising Legislation:
Most countries have laws stating that companies are prohibited from deliberately misleading advertising. And most countries don't seem to care about enforcing them. When they do, it is usually only to tell the advertiser to stop doing it.
When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. The Federal Trade Commission enforces these truth-in-advertising laws, and it applies the same standards no matter where an ad appears – in newspapers and magazines, online, in the mail, or on billboards or buses. The FTC looks especially closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks – claims about food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and tobacco and on conduct related to high-tech products and the Internet, such as the dissemination of spyware. The FTC also monitors and writes reports about ad industry practices regarding marketing of food, violent movies, music, and electronic games to children.
It was not so easy finding the applicable provisions for Australia, just some vague summaries, and if you want to, you can try wading through the Trade Practices Act 1974, and hoping to make sense of it. Whatever, it appears quite ineffective.
Self-regulation maybe? Everyone knows that self regulation only works when there is a body closely watching, and with a big stick. Something about a fox in charge of the chicken coop?
|See top left? Pills. One wonders what for and just how effective.|
As effective as wild krill oil maybe?
One of the interesting 'misleading' products is a nasal spray that supposedly helps someone lose weight. This time, a scientist pointed out that there was not the slightest evidence that it had any effect at all. That was years ago. The court case is ongoing as far as I know, and the product is still being marketed.
|You can be a sheep if you choose.|
But look after your lambs.
A particular gripe of mine is that parents are dosing their children with these 'natural' products that are not necessarily harmless. If they choose to do it to themselves, that's their right, but, for instance, a concoction of fish oil that is supposed to raise the child's intelligence? Don't take risks. It does not raise the child's intelligence. All it does is expose the parent's lack of intelligence.
Pharmacies have a lot to answer for. Their reputation for ethics has been very much eroded these past several years as they stock more and more snake oil remedies. These days their pretend remedies take up as much space as things that can be expected to work - at least a little.
POSTSCRIPT ADDED January, 2014:
Maybe facebook read this blog-post. The option of 'misleading' is no longer available for anyone wishing to 'hide' particular ads.