From Dr. Lisa Wade and her team at the always compelling site Sociological Images comes the eternal question: why does the reality of air travel never quite match air travel advertising? Continue reading
I really like reading the common sense essays of Pennsylvania physician Dr. Lucy Hornstein. She’s also the author of the book, Declarations of a Dinosaur: 10 Laws I’ve Learned as a Family Doctor. I like her writing mostly because I agree with almost everything she says. She’s brilliant, really. Last month, Dr. Lucy took aim at one of my own pet peeves: advertising for questionable health products that claim the benefits of such products are “clinically proven”.
For example, she picked on a radio ad for a colon cleanse product that helps remove the ‘five to ten pounds of waste some experts believe are spackled along the inside of the large intestine’:
“But ‘some experts‘ also believe the moon landing was a hoax, the Holocaust never happened, and homeopathy is effective medicine. Somehow this colon cleansing stuff helps you preferentially lose belly fat. Not really sure what belly fat has to do with five to ten pounds of stuff spackled inside your intestine. But they’re not selling logic. Call right now for your free sample. Or not. Continue reading
Forbes ran an interesting piece last month on the fine line in Big Pharma between promoting a new drug and presenting a misleading picture of its risk and benefits. In fact, the American Food & Drug Administration regularly singles out drug companies that use questionable language to imply or suggest their drug is superior to similar treatments, and watches closely for the omission of dangerous risk and side effect information. Forbes recently ran an online slide show of the 10 most misleading drug ads that have been slapped with FDA warning letters.
For example, actress Brooke Shields is a professional celebrity-for-hire (Volkswagen-Ford-Coppertone-LaZBoy-Colgate-Tupperware) and also spokeswoman for Latisse, a prescription eyelash thickening agent. Yes, there is such a thing. In September 2009, the FDA went after Latisse’s maker, Allergan, for a website that downplayed the drug’s serious risks which include cornea infections, hair growth outside of the treatment area, and permanent darkening of eye color.*
Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen, who is a fierce critic of drug ads, observed:
“It’s almost impossible for the public to actually parse the ads and come to their own independent conclusions.”
But Dr. Nissen is suspicious of most drugs that are advertised because he thinks that the marketing campaigns distract and mislead consumers. His advice: avoid the most heavily advertised drugs and stick to generics. Continue reading
Here’s what Procter & Gamble ads for Iams cat food in the U.K. claimed:
- Vets know that catering to all your cats’ different needs isn’t easy – so 8 out of 10 vets recommend Iams
- Voted #1 recommended dry cat food brand available in supermarkets
- Small print said: “Based on an independent survey of vets at the Congress of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association on complete dry cat foods available in supermarkets (April 2007)”.
But the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority noted that: Continue reading