misleading advertising? August 1, 2012Posted by Bradley in : consumers, truth , trackback
I haven’t seen one 5 hour energy advert that isn’t really irritating. The latest I have seen begins with the statement that they asked over 3000 doctors to review 5 hour energy. It then goes on to say “and what they said is amazing” (seems to imply the over 3000 said something amazing). The ad then says that over 73% of those who reviewed 5 hour energy said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements (note that the script refers to “a” supplement, not to the 5 hour energy product itself). The ad emphasizes the 73% figure (which appears prominently on the screen) but carefully doesn’t state that the 73% is a percentage of the (over) 3000 doctors. And the ad does not state how many doctors actually reviewed the product. And what the reviewing doctors were prepared to sign on to is pretty lame. But the ad then goes on to use the 3000 number again at the end (ask your doctor, we already asked 3000), reinforcing the impression that lots of doctors approved of the product. This sort of carefully constructed message, designed to give a very different impression from the one that the actual words used, carefully parsed, give should, I think, be treated as problematic in law.