Category: bad marketing

Sneaky Advertorials: The Testosterone Report and My Little Rant

The Testosterone Report

When I posted about sneaky, questionable advertorials last week, I made small mental note to post an example when I saw one. And this one is about a topic that affects millions of men…baby boomers in mid-life right now…all over the globe who are hanging on to that last ounce of youth (and sex) for as long as they can.

The fact is that men are expected to perform sexually no matter what. They are supposed to have the same erection at fifty they had at twenty-five, they are supposed to perform with that erection the same way they did at twenty-five, and sex is never supposed to slow down for any man. There are drug companies making billions of dollars on sex drugs for men. There are sleazy doctors making even more money keeping men hard well into their eighties. And men are sold this bill of goods and no one ever challenges it because that would make a man less of a man. It’s all about the erection. And it happens to gay and straight men.

Aside from drug companies and doctors and psychologists who’ve found a highly profitable target market, we also have the products like Test X180 Ignite. I guess the “ignite” part means the ignition of sexual drive…or the erection itself. It sounds like a sports car, or something related to a sports car, and that didn’t happen by accident. These marketing people know exactly what they are doing and how to hit the weakest most vulnerable parts of all men dealing with middle age and the natural process of sex slowing down.

And guess where I found Test X180 Ignite?  When I signed on to my computer earlier this evening there it was, mixed between a news article about Charlie Sheen and President Obama. You know how AOL, Yahoo, Huff Po, and other news organizations flash story after story in front of you? Well I found this one about Test X180 Ignite on AOL, written and designed to look exactly like a real news story written to inform people instead of sell something to them.

At the very top of the advertorial, in small print, it reads, “Advertisement.” This means it is paid content. They do disclose this. But if you aren’t aware of advertorials and how marketing people sneak them into news stories the odds are you’re not going to notice this and you’re going to think this is a real article/news story. It’s happened to me countless times for all kinds of things and I’ve always reacted with total dismissal and absolute hate for the product that is being sold when I figured it out.

So while these marketing PR people might think they are getting away with something, I often wonder how effective these advertorials are and how much they actually sell. I would have reacted differently if this advertorial had been a valid advertisement that wasn’t designed to look like an actual piece of journalism. I would have been more forgiving. I think most people would agree with me.

This is how the advertorial begins, in typical news story fashion:

 (Boston) – If you haven’t heard the whispers, there’s a new supplement at GNC that’s got executives interested. Out of the tens of thousands of products sold by the nutrition giant, this particular supplement, a free testosterone booster known as Test X180 Ignite, is already well on its way to becoming one of GNC’s top 10 grossing products in a matter of months.

Then they go on to promise that the product will cause:

  • Skyrocketed Libido
  • Insane Boost in Energy
  • Enhanced Performance
  • Incredible Lean Muscle and Endurance Gains
  • And countless numbers of middle aged men will spend countless numbers of dollars on something that may or may not actually work. Think magic beans. 

    Here’s a link to see exactly what I’m talking about. I normally wouldn’t link to anything like this, but in this case I think it’s important to point out the example. And this isn’t the only advertorial floating around out there. There are plenty more where this came from.

    The Edsel of Tablets? ePad Femme…"Easy and Pink Enough for Women"

    For those who know nothing about cars, the Edsel was built in the late 1950’s by Ford, and it was supposed to be this grand new concept…much like what I read about the ePad Femme more recently. I found this in wiki:

    The Edsel is most famous for being a marketing disaster. Indeed, the name “Edsel” became synonymous with the “real-life” commercial failure, of the predicted “perfect” product, or product idea. Similar ill-fated products have often been colloquially referred to as “Edsels”. Since the Edsel program was such a debacle, it gave marketers a vivid illustration of how not to market a product. The principal reason the Edsel’s failure is so famous is that Ford had absolutely no idea that the failure was going to happen until the vehicles were built; the dealerships established; and the company had invested $400,000,000.00 in the product’s development and launch. Incredibly, Ford had presumed to invest $400 million (well over $4.0 billion in the 21st century), without even asking itself, if it had been prudent to do so.

    When I saw the first news pieces about the ePad Femme…thanks to a twitter shitstorm…which is being marketed as a tablet that even women can use (easy enough for women)…in pink-ish tones and soft gentler images…my first thought was “They don’t know my mom.” At 78, she’s a retired therapist and she’s been using an iPad since they came out. Her main source for all things cyber is a MacBook, and she goes for classes once or twice a month to keep up with what’s new. Long before this, before she retired from practice, her entire office had gone electronic back in the 1990’s.

    My sister works with special education students and blogs online with her iPad. She’s also, like me, been known to blog right from her tablet or phone if rushed, and as I recall her tablet is black and there are no signs of pink-ish tones anywhere to be seen.

    And I can’t forget about the women I work with in publishing who know more than most men know about anything cyber. Then there are my women readers and fellow authors who have been reading and writing e-books long before the big six ever realized they were actually to be taken seriously. The truth is that when I need tech help or advice I often turn to one of the women I work with.

    This article has an amusing tone:

    Hello, girls! Can’t figure out your Kindle? Don’t know where to find cool apps for your iPad? Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it any longer: Now there’s a tablet computer just for you, preloaded with lady-friendly apps displayed on a fancy, pink background!

    For anyone who ever wanted to know the definition of the word “camp,” there you are. If you’d like to read more about the reactions to the ePad Femme, just type it in google and a simple search will bring up more than you’ll be able to read in one sitting. I’d like to know what on earth these marketing people were thinking.