October 20, 2009

Ads must now tell the truth

Posted: 08:39 AM ET

Clark Behind The Headlines
From HLN's Money Expert Clark Howard

There are new requirements coming for celebrities, radio and TV talk show hosts and bloggers.

Now, if you’re a blogger, you have to disclose that you’re getting paid to review or endorse something.

If you are a celebrity pitch person, you’re going to have to stand behind the product that you’re doing an endorsement for - meaning you’re going to have to have good knowledge that the claims you are making are true.

Well, what if I’m not a famous person? I’m doing one of those ads where I’m saying, “Look at me. I used to wear size 48-inch waist pants and now I’m a size 32-inch waist. And I lost all this weight without exercising, eating as I wish, and I lost it all in 10 weeks!” Then they show the before and after pictures.

Well now, under brand new guidelines, they’re going to have to tell you the truth in those diet ads. I can’t wait to see how they do that, because now they’re going to have to tell you something like, “the typical person loses one pound on this thing in six months.” No more are they going to be able to parade out the most unusual success story that they’ve had with their diet program.

You’ll see the ads change for the diet guidelines before Christmas. You watch them and you think, “Wow, could that really be? Could I really eat this miracle diet or take this miracle pill?” Now, they’re not only going to have to say, “results not typical,” they’re going to have to give the typical result.

I also can’t wait for them to weigh in on exercise equipment. It’s weird when you see those ads for the exercise equipment. At first, the guys look like the only thing they’ve ever done is work out in a gym, and the women are not anatomically correct Barbies. They work out on this miracle piece of exercise equipment that “in four minutes a day, I became like this”. How fun is that!

What’s the real answer? The real answer is really simple. Reduce the number of calories you consume and exercise every day. If you do that.. wow! There’s a true miracle that happens. You get thinner and you get in better shape.

Filed under: Clark Howard • Living

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Ron   October 20th, 2009 2:50 pm ET

Too bad the biggest liars of all are completely exempt. I mean, of course, politicians. Misleading diet ads pale in comparison to the whoppers told before every election.

Dennis   October 20th, 2009 5:26 pm ET

YEAH!!! It's about time

robla   October 20th, 2009 7:07 pm ET

Great move. Too bad we don't also have a rule that defines FREE in commercials. Free means you don't have to buy anything, join anything, register for anything, do ANYthing to get what is offered ...well FREE!

If Congress mandated that when you say FREE in an advertisement, then it should be absolutely, positively, unconditionally free without even shipping and handling charges involved, bet the word FREE would get yanked in an instant.

Are you listening US Congress members?

Dave   October 21st, 2009 7:06 am ET

Ron, the big difference is that you can refuse to re-elect a politician who lies.

syzito   October 21st, 2009 7:19 am ET

WOW truth in politics.....We would kick every Senator and House of Representative out of office ASAP.

jean   October 21st, 2009 8:52 am ET

what about the famous radio talk show hosts. will this ne rule apply
to the as well.

Scott   October 28th, 2009 2:24 pm ET

Once had a Wallside salesman tell me "Oh, if you want the deal we offered on TV that is a different pricing structure" and took back the pricing sheet he gave me and gave me a new one with HIGHER prices!

What a deal!

Alverant   October 28th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

Great! I'm sick of commercials and ads that resort to fine print to trick people into buying their products. Go down the cereal or fruit juice aisle at your local megamart. You'll see all sorts of small print on the labels designed to mislead you like "from concentrate" or "artificially flavored" or "with other flavors" or "contains 10% actual juice". It's disgusting how this goes on and we as consumers have little choice in the matter since everyone else does it.

cdw   October 28th, 2009 6:43 pm ET

how about one step further... any religious person lies on a daily basis (even if it's just to themselves)... they should all be fined... great money maker for the US government.

Janet Ayres   November 3rd, 2009 5:19 pm ET

Regarding Short Sales. My daughter put in a bid on a house that was a short sale and it has been almost 6 months and she hasn't heard a word from the bank as to whether or not her bid was accepted. Her realestate agent gets no answers from the sellers realestate agent or their lawyers. How can she find out if the bank accepted another offer and can move on?

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Clark Howard helps you become a wise consumer. We know you're busy, and that's why Clark's tips are quick and effective. He'll arm you with the information you need to make smart choices. During these tough economic times, Clark wants to help you save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off!