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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.”
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
The Honest Company, co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, built its billion-dollar reputation on the fact that its products are created using natural, nontoxic elements. But a newly filed class-action lawsuit claims the company hasn’t been as honest as its name would lead one to believe, accusing the organization of deceiving consumers by selling items that actually contain unnatural and ineffective ingredients. [More]
In a world where marketers are constantly trying to catch the attention of shoppers with products that are seen as fresh, wholesome and healthy, there are some words that perhaps used to mean something more to people than they used to. Like “artisan” — in the past, this would’ve meant a skilled worker spending time and great effort on making something. Now, that could just mean more premium ingredients on your fast food burger. But in Ireland, it’s not so easy to use such words lightly, as McDonald’s recently found out with its first attempt at an “artisan” Irish burger.