badvertising

NutriMost ‘Ultimate Fat Loss’ System Slammed With $32 Million Judgment For Overblown Weight Loss Claims

NutriMost ‘Ultimate Fat Loss’ System Slammed With $32 Million Judgment For Overblown Weight Loss Claims

The marketing for the NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss system claimed that users could drop 40 pounds, or more, in just 40 days, and without having to fret about calories. However, the Federal Trade Commission says that this $1,900 program is not backed by any science, actually requires a starvation-level diet, uses before-and-after examples from people related to the company, and forces customers to sign agreements that prevent them from saying anything bad about the program. [More]

Feds Warn Social Media ‘Influencers’ To Stop It Already With The Stealth Ads

Feds Warn Social Media ‘Influencers’ To Stop It Already With The Stealth Ads

Like it or not, the fact is that we’ve crossed through the mirror into a world where people are paid lots of money to mention a product, wear an article of clothing, or sip some ab-tightening tea… not because they are famous but because they get paid lots of money to mention products they got for free, wear comped clothing, and drink dubious tea — a well-dressed, flat-tummied, ouroboros shown off in impeccably framed and filtered Instagram shots. You might find it repellant, but it’s legal, so long as all of that cash and compensation is adequately disclosed — a message that a number of “influencers” and their handlers have either ignored or not received. [More]

Google Blocks Burger King Whopper Ad From Triggering Google Home

Google Blocks Burger King Whopper Ad From Triggering Google Home

Well, that was quick: Soon after Burger King launched a new ad designed to force any Google Home devices within range to wake up and spit out a list of the Whopper’s ingredients, Google has apparently disabled the functionality that triggers the devices. [More]

This Burger King Ad Forces Your Google Home Device To Tell You About Whoppers

This Burger King Ad Forces Your Google Home Device To Tell You About Whoppers

You might think you’re the master of your own home, controlling all the internet-connected devices within it and bending them to your will with the touch of a button or an uttered command. But Burger King is trying to sneak into your home through the TV with a new ad that tries to trigger the voice-activated Google Home. [More]

Today In Badvertising: Pepsi Solves Social Strife With Soda; Nivea Says “White Is Purity”

Today In Badvertising: Pepsi Solves Social Strife With Soda; Nivea Says “White Is Purity”

Two major brands — Pepsi and Nivea — are under fire this week on social media for ads that some say are offensive and tone deaf. [More]

Yortw

Prepare For Deluge Of Fax Spam On Machines You Haven’t Used Since 2004

In 2005, just about the time many of us were finally giving up on fax machines, the ever-hip Congress passed the Junk Fax Prevention Act, severely restricting the use of fax machines for advertising purposes. However, a federal appeals court ruled today — when there are college students who don’t even know what a fax is — that the FCC overstepped its authority in writing the actual regulations tied to this law. [More]

Felix Salmon

This Pharmacy Ad Suggests “Very, Very Strong Antibiotics” Even When They Won’t Do Any Good

When you’re sick, it makes sense that you want a pill to just make all the symptoms go away, which is probably why some doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics even when they aren’t necessary and may, in fact, cause harm. It probably doesn’t help when a pharmacy perpetuates the myth that we should just take antibiotics whenever we might be sick. [More]

We Dissected This Fake News Site Linking Denzel, Stephen Hawking To Brain-Boosting Pills

We Dissected This Fake News Site Linking Denzel, Stephen Hawking To Brain-Boosting Pills

For years, marketers of sketchy dietary supplements have cooked up fake news websites and used bogus “reporters” to push their product online. But we stumbled on one site that quadruples down on the fiction, attributing utterly made-up endorsements to bona fide stars of stage, screen, sports, and science. [More]

Ad Watchdog Once Again Asks Comcast To Stop Boasting About Having Fastest Internet & In-Home WiFi

Ad Watchdog Once Again Asks Comcast To Stop Boasting About Having Fastest Internet & In-Home WiFi

Last summer, an independent ad industry watchdog group recommended that Comcast put an end to questionable claims that it offers the “fastest internet in America” and the “fastest in-home WiFi,” but the ever-stubborn Comcast refused to abide by that decision and appealed… only to once again be told to just give it up already. [More]

5-Hour Energy Ordered To Pay $4.3 Million For Deceptive Ads

5-Hour Energy Ordered To Pay $4.3 Million For Deceptive Ads

Four months after a Washington state court ruled that the maker of the popular 5-Hour Energy drink had misled consumers into believing that its product was superior to caffeine, the judge has ordered the company to pay a total of $4.3 million. [More]

Alper Çuğun

Uber Ordered To Pay $20 Million For Allegedly Exaggerating Drivers’ Potential Earnings

Popular ride-hailing service Uber has agreed to pay $20 million to close the book on federal charges that it used misleading and exaggerated earnings figures to attract new drivers to work with the company. [More]

Ad Nauseum

Why Is Google Blocking This Ad-Blocker On Chrome?

Ad-blockers might have started out as kind of a weird niche thing for techies and privacy advocates, but they’re now commonplace. Every major browser app lets you run plug-ins or extensions that can banish unsightly, privacy-compromising ads from your sight, and these browsers generally stay out of the escalating war between ad-blocking users and ad-blocker-blocking sites. Yet, the makers of one ad-blocker say Google has thrown their app out of the Chrome store, and disabled the service’s function in Chrome for all users. So what gives? [More]

Amanda Hoffman

FTC Orders Company That Used Verizon ‘Supercookies’ To Disclose Terms, Provide Opt-Out

A couple of years ago, Verizon caught a lot of heat for a very sneaky practice: the company was inserting a unique, permanent piece of code into all the web traffic on your phone, without user consent, so that a third party could track your every digital move for advertising purposes. After a public outcry, Verizon finally stopped, and settled with the FTC… but that third-party remained a loose thread in the story. Until now. [More]

Facebook To Work With Fact-Checkers, Let Users Flag Fake News Stories As “Disputed”

Facebook To Work With Fact-Checkers, Let Users Flag Fake News Stories As “Disputed”

If you’re sick of seeing your friends from high school sharing outrageously untrue news items that are clearly hoaxes, or originally posted on websites with names like “HawtClikzNowAmerica!” or “biznoosclickstore.nz.bike,” you may soon have a new tool to help flag this sort of nonsense. [More]

Mike Mozart

Ad Watchdog: Lowe’s Should Clarify That Major Appliances Sale Excludes Most Brands

An annoyed customer brought a Lowe’s appliance ad to the attention of the National Ad Division, a self-regulation program for advertisers run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Their complaint? An ad promoting “20% off appliances $396 or more at Lowe’s” was largely untrue, except for the parts that said “appliances” and “Lowe’s.” [More]

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

If you’ve used Instagram, you’re almost certainly familiar with apparently real people touting tummy-flattening tea, an array of subscription boxes, the benefits of some multilevel marketing scheme, or the latest in fashion, beauty, and electronics. If these people are being paid to shill these products, then they have to clearly be flagged as ads. Though the Federal Trade Commission has pledged to get serious about going after advertisers who taint your Instagram feed with these stealth ads, some consumer advocates say the FTC simply isn’t doing enough. [More]

Jason Cook

Study: Students “Easily Duped” By Fake News, Sponsored Content

You might assume that a child raised on online content may be better positioned to tell when news and information is coming from legitimate sources and when that source is a fake or an ad. However, the results of a new study appear to indicate that this always-connected generation is no better equipped to sort fact from fiction online. [More]

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

After coming under fire for allowing advertisers to use race-related information to exclude entire swaths of Facebook users from seeing an ad, the social media company has decided to tweak this feature to address concerns that it could be used to illegally discriminate against people based on their perceived ethnicity. [More]