Last week the FTC charged Reebok International Ltd. with making false claims that its so-called toning shoes helped strengthen leg and buttock muscles. The agency said the ads made unsupported claims that walking in their “EasyTone” footwear was “proven” to tone buttocks 28 percent more than other sneakers and build calf muscles by 11 percent. They agreed to settle the case for $25 million dollars but stated they will not stop selling their “EasyTone” footwear. Sneaker maker Sketchers also has been contacted by the FTC over claims that its Shape-ups shoes have toning benefits. Their promotional materials promise they can *promote weight loss *improve posture* strengthen the back *tighten the abdominal muscles *firm buttocks, calves and thighs * reduce cellulite and *improve blood circulation. It sounds like they may be in the business of miracles rather than sneakers. They also have the Kardasians as representatives, and you can be assured that they have a lot of credibility as stars of a Reality TV show. I would have thought that hiring someone who looked like Moses might have upped sales even more dramatically. What always fascinates me is that people are more liable to believe false claims and celebrities than individuals that are trained to really know what sneakers might create less trauma to our bodies. Podiatrists and Orthopedic surgeons have already stated that toning footwear is not a great choice. It can cause damage to your Achilles tendons, strain calf muscles and create an imbalance in your stride which can compromise those who already have balance problems. All of this rhetoric seems to fly in the face of reason since common sense has become less and less a part of the culture. If a product makes claims that it can burn fat, tone your abdomen and help you lose weight in less time than it takes to brush your teeth, than the mad rush to purchase whatever it is begins. sketcher sales grew to $1 billion dollars in 2010 before dropping off this year as retailers and shoemakers were forced to slash prices after demand fell. Could it be that there were a series of epiphanies? Gee maybe losing weight is also contingent on eating less and reducing stress, since too much stress can increase abdominal fat. But, hey that doesn’t cost anything, so it just isn’t going to sell, unless of course it can be bottled into some elixir and sold by Yogi Bear in a bikini!
When did advertising become so pervasive and invasive? I don’t think there’s a place on earth that does not have an ad staring you in the face. Relentless messages assault the senses that continually try to seduce you to buy, buy, buy. It seems that everyone who has anything they deem worthwhile now pitches something. The internet has spawned thousands of ads and they suddenly appear from nowhere.
I have been on a site trying to get information about a medical issue and suddenly a box appears telling me about a new mattress that helps me lose weight while I’m sleeping. Yes, I’m being ridiculous, but a great many of the ads are ludicrous. They remind me of the old west when a snake oil charmer rode into town with an elixir that was supposed to increase virility, remove warts, and heal gunshot wounds. You essentially can sell anything now and make promises about it with little concern that anyone will stop you.
The FDA may eventually get around to it after several people are poisoned or paralyzed, but that takes years and the perpetrator is long gone living in a mansion somewhere in the South Seas.
When I first went on face book there were some ads sprinkled here and there, but now they are larger and some are animated. I find them incredibly intrusive and distracting. I realize that they need to make money, but from what I gathered from the media the guys who own it are multi billionaires. Do they really need dancing bears selling grass skirts to increase business? Will it eventually become a site that is more about advertising than connecting with like-minded individuals. I often feel that selling yourself or your product has become the new religion. Whatever happened to “word of mouth”? When something is really good you tell everyone you know about it and it takes on a life of its own. Is it necessary to put your name on everything from napkins to toilet paper to have people recognize who and what you do? Is it possible that a job well done will actually get you more jobs? Those words were my mothers’ along with “the proof is in the pudding”! And I don’t know about you but I’ve tasted some lousy pudding that I believed was going to be great because the advertiser said so. There just might be a lesson there.