Misleading commercials - who scolds the radio?

I’m wondering - does anyone else scold the radio when they hear a misleading advertisement? Its as if I expect the pre-recorded actors to suddenly repent, admitting they’ve crossed the line and are no longer ‘putting a new spin’ on their product/service - they’re lying.

The commercial I currently yell at is the AAA insurance commericial: ‘Triple-A. Its insurance you can use.’ Bullshit. You don’t use your insurance to get discounts on travel and all the other crap they’re advertising, you use a AAA membership to get that stuff. You can get a AAA membership without having AAA insurance. So they’re entire advertising schtick is a load of crap and it pisses me off.

So, everytime a variation of this commercial comes on the radio, I will explain to the radio why what they are saying isn’t true. Sometimes, I’m quite patient with the radio, as if explaining this concept to someone that just hasn’t figured it out. Other times, I’ll yell at the radio, ‘That is such total bullshit! Why do you lie to people?’ The radio never answers my question.

So tell me, what commercials do you scold? Or am I the only one - and if so, do I belong in a mental institution?

Reposted from the Minute Rants thread:

This week’s Ari Fleischer Award for Straight-Faced Bullshit goes to WROV, a radio station out of (I think) Roanoke.

They have a commercial for themselves in which they talk about the “WROV Archives”–“The classic hits you can’t get anywhere else!” And what song do they play a clip from right after this statement?

“Stairway to Heaven”. I shit you not. They follow it up with more clips from overplayed Zeppelin and Skynrd.

Yeah, those are tracks I can’t get anywhere else–except on the other three stations with exactly your format that I can get from my car! Hell, I’d bet dollars to donuts that one of the songs you just played a clip of in that commercial is being played on one of those other stations right now!

It doesn’t bother me that you refuse to play anything that someone might not have heard before–you’re just an occasional stop when there’s nothing good on the college stations, anyway. However, don’t act like your playlist is somehow fucking unique. That sort of sincerely-delivered, obvious bullshit is just mind-boggling.

My blood begins to boil every time I hear an ad for the ‘International Star Registry’.

The week before Valentine’s Day was very rough on me. :mad:

I thought for a minute that this might be a rant about the increasingly toothless FCC. Alas, i was dissappointed.

Carry on.

DoctorJ, I agree - those ‘we’re the only ones who have ever done/currently do this’ commercials are stupid. They’re at the opposite end of the creativity scale. Sometimes I think, ‘Somebody got paid to create that? Hopefully they didn’t pay them very much.’

drewbert, I’ll bite - what is the International Star Registry and why do you hate them?

Unlike drewbert I don’t hate them but their guts!

When this subject appears, it is time to plug both The Skeptic’s dictionary and our own The Bad Astronomer:

http://skepdic.com/refuge/plait.html

They do get away with it because the ISR does mention that detail, [sub]if you read the fine print.[/sub]

I laughed when I read the OP. Yes, in my house we fuss at the radio and TV when misleading or just dumb crap comes out. I began making skeptics of my kids when they were little, as so many of the cartoon shows were chock full of ads for toys. It was with much delight that I overheard my 6 yr old tell her friend, “Oh sure, they want you to buy that ! I’ts not nearly as good as they make it look ! They just want your Mom’s money !!” Now that she’s 17, she will bring me the newspaper and thrust it out to me, in righteous indignation " look here Mom ! These people are full of shit !!" I love it. :cool:

I hated the radio spot for Body Solutions they were running continuously last summer. Especially the part with the shills saying “I lost xxx pounds and didn’t even change my diet! Simply take Body Solutions and avoid eating after dinner!”

Um, HELLO! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you cut out several hours of mindless tv/bedtime snacking you’re going to lose weight, and YES I consider that a change in my diet and NO I don’t need an expensive bottle of swill to do it.

Is anyone else hearing the commercial for “Skin Zinc”? In the commercial they have “customers” leaving “testimonials” on their “answering machine”. Sounds like the last guy is calling from the ball game on his cell phone…ya thats real plausable…“Hmmm…its intermission, I think I’ll call the skin zinc offices and tell them how much I love their product, I just happen to have their number right here” YYAARRRGGG!!!

What, exactly, constitutes false advertising? Who polices this sort of thing, and whose burden is it to prove the allegation is false?

In other words, how the hell can a station get away with claiming that it is the only station where one can hear “Stairway to Heaven”?

Dr. J

Moving away from the radio and to TV for a minute, you know what really gets me? Those ridiculous ads in which SUVs perform completely impossible feats like climbing a vertical cliff, towing an icebreaker through pack ice, or, in the most recent example, towing a large airplane so fast that it rises off the groud.

Hey, fuckers, just because you have “Dramatization” printed in tiny letters at the bottom of the screen doesn’t make this sort of lying acceptable (although, apparently, in legal terms it does).

I just think it’s hilarious that they use the word “dramatization” for that purpose. Shouldn’t a dramatization involve some element of drama rather than being a synonym for “BULLSHIT”?

There’s an ad for some investment scheme that makes the claim (among others) that “weather conditions exist right now in key growing areas worldwide”. Well, no shit! Weather conditions exist everywhere all the time for chrissake.

Recently there were a bunch of billboards in the Dallas area advertising Omega watches, tied in with the release of the movie “007:Die Another Day”. They showed a large picture of Pierce Brosnan portraying James Bond. The ad said, “Pierce Brosnan’s choice”, implying that he endorsed Omega watches. Funny thing, though. About a week later, the signs had all been changed to read, “James Bond’s choice”. Apparently, after wearing Omega watches in the movie, Mr. Brosnan felt they weren’t worth endorsing, and must have demanded his name be removed from the billboards. So, who does Omega pick to endorse their watches? James Bond, a FICTIONAL character. I mean, are their watches so shitty that hey can’t find one famous person to endorse them? WTF? I’m supposed to go buy an Omega watch even though rich actors won’t endorse them? Fuck you, Omega, and the BMW z4 you drove in on!

Yeah, I want to know how Slim-Fast gets away with that commercial that starts out by saying, “Can you lose weight and still live your life?” This woman says something like, “No problem. Slim-Fast made it so easy.” At the bottom of the screen in miniscule print it says “losing weight is not easy” etc, etc, etc.

So is it easy or not? How can they legally make both claims?

Oh yeah, those weight loss products advertise how easy it is, and how it can work for everyone, then at the bottom of the screen in tiny print ‘results not typical’. Well, if the results are ‘not typical’, then how do they get away with advertising ‘anyone can do it’? If ‘anyone’ could do it, wouldn’t that make the results typical? Geesh. Bastards.

I love the weight loss ads…if you exercise and eat less AND take this miracle pill wrap juice drink you WILL LOSE WEIGHT!!!

And what happens if you do the first two things but not the third?

Hmmm, the one that never fails to irritate me is the movie channels that advertise “Really bad movie premiering on Friday night!”, despite the fact that they’ve been running that bad movie off and on for months. Not to mention the other five or six channels that bought the rights to that movie and have been running it ad nauseum. Obviously one of us has the wrong idea of what “premiere” means.

The local (Atlanta) DJ’s plugged the hell out of this crap. Now Body Solutions is being investigated for fraud and false advertising. Ha!

Sorry I didn’t get back to this sooner. They claim to “name” a star after the person of your choice. Part of the problem is that they have no offcial authority to ‘name’ stars - and there’s no guarantee that two different companies might assign different names to the same star. They say that they register the name/star with the Copyright Office… but I could copyright my grocery list if I wanted to. Meaningless.

The star they name for you is invariably one that is far too faint to see with the naked eye, and would be pretty tricky to spot even with a good telescope. Sometimes the stars aren’t even visible from the location of the ‘buyer’. Some people have reported that some of the stars don’t even exist!

So for your money you get a certificate and a map with a dot on it that you can’t find and isn’t really named after you. We in the planetarium business have to tread very lightly when dealing with people who come in wanting to see the star they had named after their dear departed grandmother.

But woe to those who call them a ‘scam’, for they have lawyers.

The International Star Registry is definitely one of the things I hate hearing advertised; it is such a blatant rip-off. They’ve been around for a while. Cecil’s column on the ISR was written in 1988.