A two-country crackdown on auto dealers’ deceptive, fraudulent practices culminated in six enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission resulting in more than $2.6 million in judgements and consumer refunds. [More]
Amazon is trying — perhaps a little too hard — to interest consumers in the mysterious device it will unveil later this month. It’s probably a 3D smartphone, but if you just listen to the things said in the video, your mind might wander to less family-friendly notions. [More]
A case of marketing brilliance or unfair stereotyping? That’s the question we have after the Food and Drug Administration announced the first anti-smoking campaign aimed at teens. The ads don’t highlight the serious health risks of smoking, such as emphysema or lung cancer, instead they depict yellow teeth and wrinkles. [More]
As the saying goes, if you don’t read the amount of calories, fat and sugar contained in a food, none of that counts and you can eat as much of it as you want. Well, that might at least be the mindset behind one Wisconsin ice cream company’s slogan, “You want nutrition? Eat carrots.” [More]
It might seem like a small thing, to alert your customers when a product you offer changes. But as we’ve seen with the horsemeat scandal over in Europe, knowing exactly what kind of food you’re eating is vitally important to consumers. After all, you’re the one deciding to spend your hard-earned cash so you should be in the loop. Consumerist reader Salman noticed this kind of transparency in action recently at his local Chicago Chipotle. [More]
No need to resort to flashy gimmicks or big marketing campaigns — if you want to sell condoms, just present an easy juxtaposition with a meaning that can’t be missed. A gas station is doing just that with a handmade sign showcasing two of its products. [More]
When Bank of America recently decided to scrap its plan to not charge its customers a $5/month fee for using debit cards to make purchase, the bank said it had listened to what its customers thought about the idea. But should consumers be grateful to BofA for not doing something they shouldn’t have done in the first place? [More]
If you’ve watched sporting events on Fox in the last week, you’ve likely spotted an ad from News Corp. alerting DirecTV customers that “soon, in some markets, you may lose your local Fox station” as a result of the ongoing contract dispute between the broadcaster and the satellite company. But these TV spots aren’t going over well with the folks at DirecTV who have complained to the FCC that Fox is misleading customers. [More]
The distributor of Nivea in Canada has been fined nearly 400,000 Loonies for marketing the “My Silhouette” skin cream as making you slimmer. As opposed to the usually vague nonsense talk surrounding skin and beauty product pitches, this one claimed users could expect a “reduction of up to three centimetres on targeted body parts, such as thighs, hips, waist and stomach.” [More]
Mystern encountered this error message, which reads “Acquiring satellite signal,” while strolling by an unmanned Dish Network kiosk at a Utah mall. [More]
Daniel shot this photo of Sun dish soap. The package is proud that its 25 ounce bottle holds more than the 16 ounce size. [More]
By now you hopefully know that more megapixels don’t necessarily make a better camera. For one thing, you can almost double the megapixels of a camera while only gaining about a 40% increase in resolution. For another thing, it takes a lot more than just sheer number of pixels to produce a decent image. Nevertheless, point-and-shoot cameras with ginormous megapixel stats (now topping 12 MP) continue to hit the market. But Ross at Petavoxel says there’s another reason to avoid huge MP point-and-shoot cameras: something called the Airy disk. [More]
The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs sent inspectors to five of the nine Ruby Tuesdays restaurants in Massachusetts after a customer complaint. Today they released an announcement that in all five locations, they found steaks that were smaller than their labeled size. The restaurant’s supplier, Colorado Premium Foods, was fined $700 dollars. [More]
Dan sent in this pic from a local pet store. It reads, “After January 1st, bag sizes will be decreased, and these new prices will stay the same. For the rest of 2009 you will save 12.5% on all big bags of Science Diet dog food!!” I like how they’re spinning the reduced packaging in a way that benefits them and the customer, while also making sure nobody is fooled come January 1st.
Anyone who reads the fine print when signing up for Internet access knows that the speeds advertised are “best case” scenarios, or more cynically that they’re total fabrications meant to lure in customers. Now the FCC, as part of its larger study of how to expand broadband access, has reported that “actual broadband speeds lag advertised speeds by as much as 50% to 80%.”
You know what’s worse than not having a big bag of M&Ms on your desk to enjoy while you work? Having to read a blogvertisement disguised as editorial content! Hold on, I have to eat some more M&Ms. Good gravy these are delicious. Did you know M&M’s cure malaria? It’s true! Anyway, the FTC says bloggers should reveal when they’re being compensated in some way to promote a product, and I agree.
Are you a lawyer with experience and knowledge of truth-in-advertising litigation? Or know someone who is? I’m looking to interview such a person for an article with a deceptive marketing hook. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line, “lawyer.”
Eli Lansey took photos of recent Icon Parking ads on NYC subway cars and posted them on his blog. They promise customers “$10 for up to 10 hours” of parking at various lots in the city. Wow, that’s a good price! On the same ad they have a help wanted section that says they’re looking for employees, “no experience necessary.” Ah.