Mike Mozart

Surgeon General: E-Cigarette Use By Young Consumers Is A “Major Public Health Threat”

Months after the Food & Drug Administration finalized rules that treat e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes and cigars, including banning the sale to minors, a new report from the U.S. Surgeon General suggests the regulations may be too little too late, as use of the alternative tobacco products has skyrocketed among younger consumers, posing a public health threat. [More]

Facebook

Facebook Says It Found More Mistakes In Metrics Reported To Advertisers

So, remember that whole thing about Facebook mistakenly telling advertisers for two years that users were watching videos much longer than they actually were? It turns out that wasn’t the only advertising metric the social media company got wrong. [More]

Patrick

Walmart Sued For Selling Mislabeled Welspun Egyptian Cotton Sheets

Two months after textile manufacturer Welspun was sued for allegedly fraudulently labeling its bedding as premium Egyptian cotton, Walmart — which sold and then pulled the products — is facing a lawsuit of its own. [More]

Skincare Marketers Barred Over Deceptive Marketing and Billing Practices

Skincare Marketers Barred Over Deceptive Marketing and Billing Practices

A year after federal regulators received a court order temporarily shutting down a group of marketers allegedly using deceptive online “risk-free trials” to entice customers into buying skincare products, the agency officially received orders barring the companies and their operators from using the deceptive tactics to promote their products.  [More]

Saechang

Why Is It So Hard To See What’s Inside The “Black Box” Determining What Prices You Get Online?

You’re a savvy shopper, a well-educated consumer. You know to shop around to look for the best price on something before you fork over your cash. And after doing all your homework, you find out from Facebook that a friend on the other side of the country got the same item from the same website for less than you just paid. Why? How? Because an algorithm decided how much each of you should pay, and there’s nothing you can do about it. [More]

Beauty Box Julep Must Donate Toiletries To Settle Lawsuit Over Shady Negative-Option Marketing

Beauty Box Julep Must Donate Toiletries To Settle Lawsuit Over Shady Negative-Option Marketing

Negative-option subscriptions aren’t anything new: just ask any former member of Columbia House. Subscribers sign up for a service, and then receive something every month unless they specifically opt out. It’s become a popular model in fashion recently, and that includes the cosmetics subscription box from Julep, a company probably best known for its nail polishes. Today, the state of Washington announced that the company settled charges that its negative-option marketing for cosmetics boxes was deceptive. [More]

Hampton Creek Sent Out Undercover Shoppers To Buy Up Its Mayo, Ask Stores About It

Hampton Creek Sent Out Undercover Shoppers To Buy Up Its Mayo, Ask Stores About It

Corporate drama and intrigue are not things that one normally associates with the condiment aisle at the grocery store, but that’s what has been happening since Hampton Creek’s eggless product Just Mayo hit the market back in 2014. Now there’s a new accusation against the company: that it dispatched undercover agents to retail stores to buy up mayonnaise and ask stores to carry it, increasing sales and buzz. [More]

ShannonBadiee

“Pinkwashing” May Soon Be A Marketing Ploy Of The Past

Splashing pink all over your products to signal that they’re meant to be used by women? “Pinkwashed” pens, electronics, and ethernet cables? Not trendy anymore, according to marketing experts who say the cool thing nowadays is to send an inclusive branding message. [More]

Pamela Greer

Spammers Used Hacked Email Accounts To Push Bogus Weight-Loss Products

Word-of-mouth is a great way to promote a weight-loss product, as you’re more likely to trust a passed-along recommendation from a friend than some ad you see on the internet. That’s why the operators of an alleged spam scam hijacked hacked email accounts to spread the word about a slew of unproven weight-loss products.
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Budweiser Temporarily Renaming Its Beer “America” Because Why Not?

Budweiser Temporarily Renaming Its Beer “America” Because Why Not?

There’s one surefire way to link your product to the land of the free and the brave — just slap the word “America” on it: Anheuser-Busch InBev is taking a patriotic tack as part of its summer advertising campaign, replacing the “Budweiser” name on its 12-oz beer cans and bottles with the word “America,” and swapping “King of Beers” for “E Pluribus Unum.”

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Minda Haas Kuhlmann

Yeah, You’re Going To Have To Pay For Your Kid’s Promposal, Too

We have either good or bad news for high school students and for their parents: promposals, or elaborate staged events where one teen asks another to the prom, aren’t going away, and have become as much an essential part of the prom-going experience as cummberbunds and corsages. Seeing how popular they are with teens, companies that sell or rent prom clothes have started marketing guides, promoting their brands but also reinforcing elaborate promposals as the norm. [More]

Evil Erin

Indoor Tanning Company Issuing Refunds After Claiming Tanning Won’t Increase Cancer Risk

Because there is no magical indoor tanning system that uses UV lamps and comes with a 100% guarantee you will not get cancer from using it, a company that marketed indoor tanning systems will have to pay out refunds to consumers under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. [More]

Target Hires Barbie To Shill For Swimsuits, Promote Body Confidence

Target Hires Barbie To Shill For Swimsuits, Promote Body Confidence

When you think of promoting healthy body acceptance, the first thing to come to mind probably isn’t putting Barbie in a bunch of swimsuits and parading her around in ads and other marketing materials. But now that the iconic doll comes in a variety of body types, that’s just what Target is doing to publicize its 2016 swim collection. [More]

Judge Orders University Of Phoenix Parent Company To Turn Over Documents To Feds

Judge Orders University Of Phoenix Parent Company To Turn Over Documents To Feds

Just because the University of Phoenix may be able to once again recruit on military bases and enroll new students using the military tuition assistance program doesn’t mean the for-profit college behemoth’s problems are behind it. Instead, a court ruled last week that the school’s parent company, Apollo Education Group, must provide records requested by federal investigators nearly six months ago.  [More]

(smohundro)

Marketers Are Robbing ‘Black Friday’ Of Any Meaning That It Ever Had

A few years ago, Consumerist looked around at the retail landscape and the nascent nationwide trend of stores opening up on Thanksgiving Day, and we wondered whether it was time to put a modern twist on an initiative from the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to move Thanksgiving up a week to lengthen the retail season, which didn’t catch on. Why can’t we just leave Thanksgiving where it is and move Black Friday up a week? [More]

Walmart Doesn’t Need Free Shipping: They Want Everyone To Use In-Store Pickup

Walmart Doesn’t Need Free Shipping: They Want Everyone To Use In-Store Pickup

Competing big-box stores like Target and Best Buy are trying to attract shoppers this holiday season by offering free shipping on all online purchases, no matter how small. This strategy doesn’t interest Walmart, because their plans this year for holiday domination don’t include free online shipping: they include using in-store pickup to get shoppers into their stores. [More]

AirBNB Apologizes To Own Employees For Passive-Aggressive Ads

AirBNB Apologizes To Own Employees For Passive-Aggressive Ads

If you’ve ever walked up to a government employee and shouted, “You’re welcome for paying your salary!” you wouldn’t see anything wrong with a recent series of ads from lodgings site AirBNB that recently appeared around San Francisco. Even some people who wouldn’t do that had issues with the tone of the ads… including the company’s own employees. [More]

Ford Selling [Fake] Time-Traveling Flux Capacitor For A Mere $1.2M

Ford Selling [Fake] Time-Traveling Flux Capacitor For A Mere $1.2M

Ever since the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2015, companies have been throwing elbows trying to one-up each other to see who can offer recreations of – and reap the revenues from – products showcased in Back to the Future: Part II: “Pepsi Perfect,” a $10,000 hover board, self-lacing shoes from Nike and more. With just two days to go until Marty McFly’s fateful visit to the future, Ford is getting in on the marketing glory by offering a [fake] flux capacitor.  [More]