Are you kidding me?! That is more than likely what the FTC would have to say with the continued disregard for past and most recent FTC Guidelines. The FTC has written these guidelines to protect consumers. Infomercial Testimonial Group has published numerous articles since 2004 in an attempt to protect the infomercial industry on this topic. However, it all seems to fall on deaf ears and ultimately creates an unfair advantage for abusers as they play with 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 female and 1 male model to read fake testimonials for an exercise video. We are in the process of producing an exercise commercial and need the models/actresses in advance.” But wait, there’s more… “Your job will be to get to a park or beach (to be determined) and read a pre-written script of your training plan. This will be to say, ‘I’ve tone it down’, I have more energy, I’ve gone down a size, etc.” (San Diego) Date: 2010-02-06, 6:05PM PST
Are you kidding me?!
At the end of the day, it’s simply about creating a level playing field for everyone in the industry when it comes to testimonials. The unfortunate reality is that the industry seems to have more than a few bad apples. There are many “good guys” in the industry who do their best to abide by the rules and do not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the consumer. However, on a daily basis, some production companies and casting agencies blatantly recruit for materially connected “testimonies” and do not disclose the fact. The subject of typicality is a completely different article, but it is mute if the testimonial recruitment process was misconducted from the beginning. If a so-called testimonial provider or experienced infomercial producer uses these tactics, then they obviously do NOT know enough to provide a legitimate testimonial service and are setting themselves and their clients up for potentially painful scrutiny from the FTC. . Usually, the actual client is not even aware of this practice, as some production and casting agencies convince their clients that they have it handled, going to great lengths to keep the testimonial budget line item. Some companies use cheap and flawed research and recruiting practices while thinking more about their profitability by “airing” some fake testimonials instead of thinking about long-term customer problems. Take a look at recent headlines and excerpts from 3 different examples. If you are one of those who run testimonial programs correctly, this DOES apply to you. Think of sales stolen from you by a competitor who, even from the start, didn’t follow the rules/guidelines.
Are you kidding me?! Example 2: WEIGHT LOSS INFOMERCIAL TESTIMONIALS! “We are looking for motivated men and women between the ages of 25 and 50 who have between 10 and 40 pounds to lose. Specifications: Testimonials (can be real people or actors) Women: between 25 and 60 years old (mostly between 25 and 40 Caucasian These women should be 10-20lbs overweight We may also see some thin/normal weight women who have cellulite Most importantly they should be motivated to want to lose cellulite and do Weight Watchers for a month “.
It is best to have a provider of third party testimonials with no material connection as to the success or failure of a show. That is, a legitimate testimonial provider should only be one that does not have a success share percentage. At this point, ignorance of the guidelines is not an excuse. The title says it all: “Are you kidding me?”
These are just a few examples of companies across the country that will most likely (you be the judge) not reveal the material connection they have created with their testimonial program. Are you kidding me?! This is a great FTC No No.
Please note: These ads are real and very recent as of this article. Here’s yet another example of how not to recruit testimonials perceived to be materially unrelated.
Are you kidding me?! Example 3: “Fitness Weight Loss Program is looking for Testimonial Actors to participate in a fitness program for a national TV infomercial project. Testimonial Actresses are needed for high exposure and TV filming (women ages 25-25). 45 years old) women 25 to 45 years old. National TV campaign must be in New York area willing to train with a coach”
Therefore, if after reading this article you are still one of those recruiting testimonials in the manner described above, then the only rational assumption is that you are intentionally misleading the consumer, intentionally challenging the FTC, and challenging those in the industry. They do their best to play fair. One more time “Are you kidding me?”
Are you using the ITG seal? did you know Infomercial Testimonial Group is recommended in SELF magazine and so is the ITG Seal for Verified Testimonials. The next article will provide tips on proper recruiting procedures to get your testimonial program off to the right start. Eddie E Gaut Detuag Testing Centers – home of Infomercial Testimonial Group 714 850 9777