Are you kidding me?! This is more than likely what the FTC would have to say with the continued lack of consideration for past and more recent FTC Guidelines. The FTC wrote these guidelines to protect consumers. The Infomercial Testimonial Group has published several articles since 2004 in an attempt to protect the infomercial industry only on this subject. However, everything seems to fall on many deaf ears and, ultimately, creates an unfair advantage for abusers while playing with the FTC fire. In essence, companies are stealing YOUR sales by not following the guidelines.
Are you kidding me?! – Example 1. “We are looking for 3 women and 1 male model to read fake testimonials for a work out video. We are in the process of producing a work out commercial and we need the models / actresses beforehand.” But wait, there’s more … “Your job will be to reach a park or beach (to be determined) and read a pre-written script about your training plan. This will consist of saying,” I slowed down, I have more energy , decrease a size, etc. “(San Diego) Date: 2/6/2010, 6:05 PM PST
Are you kidding me?!
At the end of the day, it is simply a matter of creating a level playing field for everyone in the industry with regard to testimonials. The sad reality is that the industry seems to have more than just a few bad apples. There are many ‘good guys’ in the industry doing their best to comply with the rules and not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the consumer. However, on a daily basis some production companies and casting agencies are shamelessly recruiting for materially related ‘testimonials’ and not publicizing the fact. The issue of typicality is a completely different article, although it is silent whether the testimony recruitment process has been misguided since the beginning. If an alleged testimonial provider or experienced infomercial producer uses these tactics, then it is obvious that they DO NOT know enough to provide a legitimate testimonial service and are setting themselves and their client up for a potentially painful FTC exam. Typically, the actual client is not even aware of this practice, as some production and casting agencies convince their clients that they are taking care of it, doing their best to maintain the testimonial budget line item. Some companies use cheap and flawed recruitment and research practices while thinking more about their profitability from a few testimonials rather than thinking about long-term customer issues. Take a look at the recent headlines and excerpts from 3 different examples. If you are one of those who conduct testimonial programs properly – it affects you. Think of sales stolen from you by a competitor who, from the beginning, did not follow the rules / guidelines.
Are you kidding me?! Example 2: WEIGHT LOSS INFOMERIAL TESTIMONIALS! “We look for motivated men and women between 25 and 50 years of age who have between 5 and 40 kilos to lose. Specifications: Testimonials (can be real people or actors) Women: ages between 25 and 60 (mainly 25-40). Caucasians. These women must be between 5 and 20 kilos overweight. We can also see some skinny / normal weight women who have cellulite. Most importantly, they must be motivated to want to lose cellulite and do Weight Watchers for a month. ”
It is best to have a third-party testimonial provider, with no material connection as to the success or failure of a program. That is, a legitimate witness provider should only be one who does not have a percentage share in the success. At this point, ignorance of the guidelines is no excuse. The title says it all -Are you kidding me ?! ”
These are just a few examples of companies across the country that, most likely (you are the judge), will not disclose the material connection they have created with their testimony program. Are you kidding me?! This is a huge FTC No No.
Note: These ads are real and very recent as of the date of this article. Here is yet another example of how not to recruit for perceived testimonies not materially related.
Are you kidding me?! Example 3: “The fitness weight loss program is looking for testimonial actors to participate in a fitness program for a national TV infomercial project. Large exposure and TV footage (25-45 women) required actress testimonial women aged 25-45 The national TV campaign must be in New York area willing to train with the coach ”
So, if after reading this article you still recruit testimonials in the manner described above, the only rational assumption is that you are intentionally misleading the consumer, intentionally challenging the FTC and challenging those in the industry doing their best to play Fair. Again “Are you kidding me ?!”
Are you using the ITG badge? Did you know? The Infomercial Testimonial Group is recommended in SELF Magazine and also the ITG Seal for verified testimonials! The next article will provide tips on proper recruitment procedures to start your testimonial program on the right foot. Eddie E Gaut Detuag Testing Centers – home of the Infomercial Testimonial Group 714 850 9777