4 BS Infomercial Facts That Apparently Fool Some People
I'm a pretty trusting guy when it comes to TV. I believed the Fox network when they said they got their hands on an alien autopsy video in 1995. I believed those commercials that told me The Blair Witch Project was legitimate found footage. Hell, I thought Lost was just a really well done documentary until about halfway through Season 2. But with the internet being such a reliable fact-checking machine nowadays, it's become easier to distinguish between real life and the bullshit that marketing companies would have you believe is real life. Apparently, directors of infomercials never got that memo, because they continue to make some of the most batshittingly ridiculous claims you'll ever hear. Claims like ...
A Fishing Lure That "Triggers Their DNA" and "Genetic Responses"
You know what the worst part about fishing is, aside from the fact that you're fishing instead of doing literally anything else? The worst part of the whole sport is when those snobby-ass fish refuse take your bait. Luckily, millions of years' worth of fishing R&D have finally brought humanity to a perfect solution: lures that kind of wiggle.
We have truly plateaued as a species.
These small, electronic fishing lures are guaranteed to catch you "too many fish," at least according to infomercials like this one:
This type of lure uses its patented "Vibra-Strike" technology, which sounds like a finishing move Chun-Li would use in Street Fighter but, in reality, just means that the thing will shake for a bit while a little light goes off on its head. Honestly, there isn't much to say about this thing that can't be said for many other fishing lures out there, like the Mighty Bite and the Mighty Bite UFO, which glows in the dark, if you can believe it. So how do the engineers at a company like Twitching Lure Inc. set themselves apart from the rest in the competitive fishing accessory industry?
Since proclaiming "Fish will eat anything that moves because they're fucking stupid" doesn't make for a great ad campaign, the commercial instead claims that the flashing light along with the buzzing and vibrating will "trigger a fish's genetic urge to strike." If that sounds confusing, it's because what they describe as "triggering a genetic response" basically boils down to "fish see something they want to eat and then eat it." Genetically, that's what fish are inclined to do, or else they'll starve to death. That kind of description would be the same as McDonald's airing a commercial that claims "The Big Mac triggers your genetic urge to be a big, fat slob." If you asked me to list which industries I believed to be conniving and evil, the fishing lure industry would be at the absolute bottom of that list.
A common theme I noticed while reviewing way too many fishing commercials is that they try to exaggerate what is actually going on with their lure. Like the Lucky Bug, which tries to convince you that ripples in the water are actually "a unique, erratic action that sends distress signals."
I'd have been more impressed if they called them "Grief Shockwaves."
Throwing techno-jargon buzzwords around for a fucking fishing lure just seems condescending and is a huge waste of everyone's time. And it isn't even like they have an actual geneticist backing up these claims. The only authority I can see in the commercial is Thom Buck, a fishing expert from this and at least one more infomercial.
Fishing Authority/Paid Infomercial Actor
Even if you ignore the lies about fish genetics, you'll find that these types of commercials will do anything to prove that their dumb lure is the dumb lure for you. Like the part that claims the lure will catch a fish in 10 seconds while hoping you won't notice the four or five editorial cuts they make while the stopwatch is running in the corner of the screen.
Look, consumers don't need you to embellish the truth for a fishing accessory. You can have a perfectly effective commercial for your fishing lure that doesn't try to glamorize or outright lie about what the product does. Yes, the lure catches fish. No, it doesn't "trigger their DNA," because that isn't a thing that exists.
A good example of what I mean can be found in a commercial for the Shadow Rap fishing lure: Two fishing buddies are using the lure, when a fish grabs the bait and is caught. No outrageous claims about DNA or genetic responses, no sneaky editing, and also, one guy admits to the other that he fucked his wife a few nights ago, an unrelated side note to the fishing lure, but at least it keeps the viewer focused on the commercial.
Wife-fucking commercials aside, the fishing lure industry seems to relish creative uses of bullshit to sell their products, and they can usually get away with it by guaranteeing their product for 60 days, which puts the onus on you to decide whether or not you're totally satisfied with your genetic fish magnet.
Or at least as satisfied as this guy has made your wife.
Related: 5 Fish Clearly Designed by a Madman
Wearable Weight-Loss Solutions
The weight-loss industry is a competitive one. Every year there seems to be a new Atkins Diet or some variety of horrifying juice cleanse that puts a temporary stopper into the problem but does nothing in the long run. Look, if someone had the end-all solution for quick weight loss, the world would have heard about it by now. So you can forgive me for being a bit of a Doubting Thomas when I'm presented with a commercial like this one on late-night television:
According to products like the Sauna Massage there, dieting and exercise can go fuck their collective selves. Instead, you can just wear their product and the weight will pour right off your body like someone just opened the Ark of the Covenant, Indiana Jones-style.
Products like the Sweaty Massage Belt make a guarantee that you will lose weight simply by sweating it all out. It's easy and probably legal to say that, too, because technically they're not wrong. We all sweat out at least a liter of our inside juices a day, juices that contain water and sodium, among a bunch of other chemicals. It's a negligible amount to lose and is all stuff that your body gains back after your next meal and drink of water. So while they're selling you some false hope at best, their tactics are still as scummy as I'll bet that belt is after one use.
Focus groups didn't respond well to the original name, "Smelly Belly Belt."
The massage belt is just one product that claims the answer to your weight problems lies in a less-than-fashionable accessory. There's another belt out there called the Tummy Tuck Belt, which helps you lose your fat while also hiding it. By just wearing the belt, which is really a tan piece of spandex, twice a day for 10 minutes at a time, you'll be well on your way to weight loss! The thing is, you actually don't need the belt at all. The actual weight loss comes from the thermal accelerator cream included with the belt. And if you do a search for the accelerator cream, you'll quickly find that it's available everywhere. The belt is simply their way of giving you a temporary trim-looking stomach, but it isn't actually doing any of the heavy lifting.
Another wearable placebo for weight loss is the Zvelt Patch, which is like a NicoDerm patch but without all that sweet, delicious nicotine. The folks at Zvelt tell you to just slap this baby on your skin to lose the weight; no diet or exercise needed!
And if anyone asks, you can tell them it's a botched Zeppelin tattoo.
I looked into this miracle patch and found it contains chemicals to stimulate your thyroid, burn calories, and regulate weight loss. Aside from being made from things you can buy over-the-counter at any health store, none of those chemicals will totally eliminate fat by themselves; you still have to get off your ass and work out. And while they claim that you don't need to diet, it's not going to protect you from the dietary lifestyle that made you fat in the first place. Basically, there are no free lunches, and the lunches that you do eat have to be at least kind of healthy, patch or no patch.
Miracle Waterproofing From Space
If you have never seen how hydrophobic coatings work, you should waste a few hours looking up videos on YouTube. It usually comes in the form of a special material or coating that completely makes up its own rules regarding how liquids are supposed to move and act. It's super fascinating stuff that is commercially available to everyone and certainly not the type of product you should have to trick someone into buying like SlickX3 tries to do.
Hydrophobic sprays in particular are miracle solutions that will coat all your possessions with an impenetrable shield, kind of like a tiny little force field you can use on anything that requires that kind of protection. While that sounds mighty impressive on paper, the advertisement could have shown a more practical use for their impenetrable coating other than using the spray to flush blueberries and coffee down the toilet.
There are starving/sleepy people who would have killed for that blueberry coffee you flushed.
Hydrophobic compounds have been around since the '60s or '70s and have been available in stores for almost as long. Since SlickX3 is already working in some well-tread territory, one has to wonder why anyone should buy this product instead of any other hydrophobic compound on the market. Well, because this shit was developed by NASA, of course! And if the guys who landed us on the moon endorse this product, why wouldn't you buy the spray and the free gift valued at $20 all for the low, low price of $19.99?
It is true that the minds at NASA have developed some hydrophobic technologies that sort of do the same thing that SlickX3 does, but if you read the pixelated fine print in the video, you'll see that they actually have nothing to do with this product.
NASA also developed Velcro, Tang, and cordless power tools, but you don't ever hear those companies name-dropping in their commercials. Because they're not assholes. There was absolutely no reason for this company to drag NASA into their bullshit, so why even include it? And while we're on the subject of making outlandish claims, let's pump the brakes on the use of the word "nanotechnology."
Nanotechnology deals with dimensions at the subatomic level, and while this spray will form a strong coat over whatever you hit it with, it's a far cry from work done at the molecular level. In fact, a technical sheet for a similar product mentions that the coating will repel water only at certain "contact angles." So, depending on how liquid falls on your coating, the underlying object may or may not get wet. That's not a great guarantee if you want to be able to drop your coated phone in the toilet; I don't care how many blueberries are in there.
Speed Up Your PC
If you watch any amount of TV, odds are you have come across this guy at some point:
This tall drink of water is here to tell you that your PC is fucked and he's the only one with the ability to unfuck it. According to him, if your computer gets a blue screen, you have a virus. If your computer freezes, you have a virus. If your email takes more than three seconds to load, your PC is exhibiting telltale symptoms of a virus and your life may as well be over.
You can call him The UnFucker.
Infomercials like this one usually pop up during daytime television and use technobabble to scare viewers into giving the software a try. It sounds like they're providing a public service by informing you that if your PC is running slow, you have major problems. And what's the problem with that?
I've dedicated the last decade of my professional career to preventing shit like this from getting installed on your computer, and these motherfuckers are buying up ad time to make my life a living hell. Programs like MyCleanPC and its competitors are some of the sleaziest of the sleazy when it comes to your best interests. The commercial promises a free diagnosis of your system, which is probably the only true statement in the commercial. In fact, downloading the file costs nothing, installing it costs nothing, and getting told that your brand-new, never-been-on-the-internet PC is infected with thousands of pieces of malware is also free. At least, that was the case when I installed a brand-new copy of Windows onto a laptop before running their software. Imagine my surprise when the scan came back on this virgin system.
I ended up with some 1,700 different issues found on my PC. When I went to fix the issue, I was redirected to the program's online order page where I could save my computer from hackers and viruses for just 20 bucks. If that sounds reasonable to you, that's a problem. First of all, this particular laptop did not have any issues. Among the files listed in the "issues found" section were harmless Windows log files and some system files in the folders where my video and network drivers were stored, files you don't need but are certainly not a threat to your system. That might seem like common knowledge for any casual technology user. But does, say, your grandmother know that her system is actually fine and she doesn't need to shell out $20 every time her computer runs slowly? How could she, when she's seeing big, scary words pop up on her screen while she's trying to watch The Price Is Right?
Exclamation points = serious business.
My main issue with commercials like these is that there are plenty of alternatives for cleaning your PC that are absolutely free of charge. In fact, if I type "free malware removal" into Google right now, the first six or seven results are totally reputable companies that can get you up and running without some creepy motherfucker growling at you through your TV.
I wouldn't even buy drugs from this guy.
Admittedly, I've never gotten further than the free diagnosis they offer. But I have worked on computers that had this garbageware installed on it, and it honestly does more harm than good. Aside from the blatant fabrication regarding the health of your computer, you'll also find it scares your average end user into thinking everything on their computer is out to get them. Pair that with the staggering amount of information you agree to let them collect, and you may as well be paying someone to rifle through your underwear drawers so they can make sure no computer viruses are hiding in there.
"We found this one under your pink thongs. That'll be $20."
Follow Erik Germ on Twitter if you like reading thinly veiled cries for help.
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