Weight loss claims unfounded, but advertising works

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

8 January 2014

Sensa might be misleading, but many believe

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.

“You’re the person who doesn’t want to miss out and believes easy is best, even if it’s against your better judgment.”

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 weight loss marketers are making claims that are unfounded by science.

weight lossI 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.

See more posts in the following related categories: FTC fine Sensa refund Weight loss advertising Weight loss claims


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