• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Weight-loss claims unfounded, but advertising works

For those of you who don’t think advertising works, consider this: Those weight-loss products that are promoted during “distressed” times (meaning they run whenever stations/networks can fit them in) sell lots of product with those ads. Sensa alone sold more than $364 million worth of products over the last four years.

And here’s the catch: The products themselves don’t work.

At least that’s according to the Federal Trade Commission, which has forced three manufacturers to pay $34 million in refunds to those who bought the products. The FTC demanded the refunds because the marketers are making claims that are unfounded by science.

sensa-1024x731I bring this up not to prove that advertisers can dupe anyone into buying something – or even that people can be duped. No, I bring it up because the type of advertising those weight-loss marketers do is something I’ve often thought was pretty effective.

They and their like, such as those OxiClean commercials, are demonstration-driven, much like an infomercial. Those kinds of ads are not for everybody, of course, but there’s always something compelling about them. You feel a pull that says, even when you are skeptical, “Don’t miss out! This is easy!”

That’s the brand face (who you are when you use a brand) of those kinds of spots. You’re the person who doesn’t want to miss out and believes easy is best, even if it’s against your better judgment.

As a brand guy, I don’t believe product benefits alone drive preference. Not by a long shot. But, in an era in which much advertising (especially among the big-budget brands) is without meaning, those weight-loss marketers and their like are more in tune with their target audiences than most.

They’ll even get some people to buy a product that doesn’t work.

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