Advertisings great liars thieves and wide boys.

Not just misleading, downright lies.

I have had a gut-full of advertising that misleads, tells straight out lies, exaggerate benefits and abuse buyers with impunity.

There are many products on the market that fall way short of living up to their claims. Here are some that really irk. Adsense will probably put some of them on my hub despite me rubbishing them, which I find amusing.

Bathroom cleaners.

This has to rate right up there for straight out lies. For example, products that show shower scum and mold removal only work on the ads. I have yet to find even one product that will remove mold. They simply do not work at all, and you would get the same result with plain water! The funniest thing I have seen is the mold remover my daughter purchased. In the blurb written on the product it said "it is best to start with a clean shower!"

Toilet cleaners.

The perfumed cleaners that hang on the toilet bowl and color the water do just that. Color the water, leave a perfumed smell, but do not keep the toilet clean at all. After about 2 days the water even if sourced from the main clean drinking water supply, will leave a deposit in the bowl that has to be removed with a toilet brush. Other than the coloring that hides the filthy scum left in the bowl from water sitting there, no other benefit at all, and certainly have little or no effect on cleaning the toilet.

Weight loss.

Before or after diet?  It's hard to tell!
Before or after diet? It's hard to tell!

Weight loss.

Ever seen one that works? I have not. The only way to lose weight that works is to eat less calories and exercise. The results obtained are usually based on water loss. Some appear to work, but as soon as one re-hydrates, the weight is back. In the mean time millions of dollars are wasted by desperate people who are unable to exercise or just to damn lazy to do so.

If an overweight person has a medical problem that causes weight gain, buying weight loss products can be not only frustrating, but can lead to despair and even depression, self blame and even suicide. The morals of these people who promote this crap are in the gutter.

A sensible diet, exercise and medical assistance can assist with weight loss, but buying weight loss products will only make your wallet lose weight, not your backside. Every year there is a new fad.

Bill Gates and me are great mates!

Some people believe everything they see!
Some people believe everything they see!

Princess Ernest.

OK maybe this is a bit obvious!
OK maybe this is a bit obvious!

SEO and backlinking.

These are both necessary if you want your online work to be seen by the search engines, but most are hyped to a degree that defies logic. Backlinking and SEO take time and effort to obtain any long term results. You are better off improving the quality of your writing than spending money on all the SEO and backlinking software available which Google ignore sooner or later. When they fall over and don't work anymore that leaves you to start all over again with the next miracle tool that Google will kill as soon as they discover it, which usually happend pretty quickly. The claims made are usually just straight out lies.

Turnkey business plans.

Again this market is chocka-block with liars,thieves and wide-boys.. The "automatic" business market is full of it. Try to do this without spending other money on expensive hosting and you will find they cannot even be set up. Without all the server-side bells and whistles only available from expensive hosting these are generally useless. Even if you do manage to install all the supporting software, you will only get results by spending another few thousand dollars on advertising. Something they usually "forget" to tell you. The complexity of some of these "easy to set up" businesses would drive Albert Einstein to distraction!

Celebrity promoters.

Pay em enough moola and most celebrities will promote any old rubbish. In Australia a famous cricket player with a reputation for lying to his wife about his dalliances is advertising for a hair replacement therapy company that specializes in lying. Apparently you can replace your hair "scientifically."

In reality they either cut holes in your head and plant what looks like a forestry plantation gone mad, or replace your hair "stran by strand. With the number of hairs on an average head that should take about a year!. One of my mechanics had this procedure done at enormous cost and all his new hair fell out in months. My physio had the same thing done and his only lasted 3 months as well. They make it look like they are going to make your own hair grow. A bit different to the reality of looking like your hair has been planted like rows of carrots!

Being a celebrity can be hard work. It seems the magazine got it a bit wrong here, and although it made me famous, it was not the type of fame I was hoping for. It was fun trying on all the party frocks though!


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Comments 32 comments

Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Hey Earnest, I will have to agree. There are plenty of distortion and misinformation on many things. The ones you've pointed out are troublesome areas, but unfortunately, you haven't touched on more of them. I guess that could go for another hub. Too many people are constantly lead to believe garbage over sensibility. It's funny and it's not funny, if you know what I mean. Good hub and it's nice to see someone point out some of the junk out there. :) Thank you kind sir. :)


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Your first paragraph could describe politicians if you replace 'buyers' with 'voters'. All parties, all countries. But if politicians told the truth they would lose to the first plausible liar.

Toilet cleaners: one place I lived NOTHING, even Caustic Soda, seemed to shake the stain in the toilet then I picked up a random product in the supermarket and put it down the bowl. Ten minutes later -stain gone. I have noticed some cleaners do have an effect. But I ignore the advertising and stick to what I find works.

Weight loss: Agreed but the placebo effect may make some products mildly effective. There is some evidence low carb diets work and provide health benefits other than weight loss

SEO/Backlinking. Once everyone does it it will be worthless.

Turnkey business plans: If they are that good why are they telling everyone how to do it?

Generally the best advertisement is word of mouth.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Cags! Nice to see you as always. I had thought to keep growing this hub, or make another 10 or so to cover some of the rest of them!

I do know what you mean by funny and not funny. The ads are funny when you see through them for what they are.

Have a great new year my friend, always nice to have your comments.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Alex, you make some very good points. I have yet to see one of those hanging toilet cleaners that work, and I do as you do, attack it with some product that I can put in the bowl to clean it, such as caustic soda. You're also spot on with the idea of substituting politicians. Politicians simply cannot tell the truth because of the gullibility of voters. Obama would know all about that. There are still people out there who reckon he is a Muslim and not born in America. Why being a Muslim would be seen as a black mark against him speaks volumes about his distractors and I guess they don't see Hawaii as America.

Your final statement that word of mouth is the best advertising has been proved over and over again in my own businesses. I did not advertise at all for ten years and had all the business I could handle.

Great comment, thank you.


Denizee profile image

Denizee 5 years ago

Great Hub. I agree they use tactics to pull in consumers to buy their products and the products weren't worth the trip to the store to buy. I've actually bought products, used them then went back to read the directions again to make sure I was using them right. Loved this!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Denizee. I bought an evaporative cooler last year when I needed to cool a small office. After running it for 5 hours it achieved an astonishing ONE degree of cooling!


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Evaporative coolers turn the air in the room into soup. You can take a shower in it. Or have to as it's so humid. They say a Mars Bar helps you work, rest and play, but i still can't play that damned piano. Cheers Ern, keep thumping them.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

True dat dawg!!! Agree with all you say. I am also sick of seeing - in tiny print "As little as," "from," and "starts at," etc...and the goods or service is never available at the "amazing" price they blare. Also these rip-off senior's insurance companies that is just throwing money down a hole and they never appreciate in value. That's not even mentioning all of the outright scams online! Bob Good hub, voted up and useful


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

Ohhhh so with you all the way on this and consider myself immune to most of the weight loss, SEO and make a million overnight scams-- but these guys are still laughing all the way to the bank-- how about the online investing software? My fave is the guy who promised you can make a million by subscribing to his newsletter that tells you how to use astrology to time the stockmarket-- me-- I'm buying lottery tickets:-)


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hi Earnest - I enjoy the lying and cheating advertisements because they give me the exercise of trying to figure out how bad they lie and cheat before heading for the Internet to check out the ones that pose the bigger challenges. Nice article, this one. I really liked your magazine cover, too.

Gus :-)))


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks attemptedhumour, Like you, I found the "humidifier" as useless as tits on a bull.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Well said Diogenes! I am also sick of new car prices that don't include taxes, pre-delivery etc. Your new car can't even be driven at the advertised price as it is usually priced minus registration, insurance and road tax.

As for what you get standard on the car, I usually mock them by saying "Would you like wheels with that sir?"


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

I forgot to mention these wide boys robie2. Glad you mentioned them. I don't know about others but I would not be giving away a million dollar deal to total strangers!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Gus. Do you think people will believe I am a princess?

I really wonder about how gullible people are, because the lies in advertising obviously work or they would stop doing it.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hi again, Earnest - Do I really believe you are a princess? :)

Let me answer your question this way - yes, I can believe it, but only if you keep your pants on.

Gus :-)))


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Gus, I thought the facial hair may have been a problem, but it looks like I've pulled it off ok.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

Hi Earnest, I guess we're all susceptible to the power of suggestion. Advertising guys have it easy really. Just sprinkle in a few superlatives and a few of the current buzz words then add a celebrity endorsement or two and hey presto! I think kids should have lessons in bullshit detecting from an early age, but I'm sure there'd be mass protests from the advertising industry.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Amanda, I proofed all my kids against bullshit advertisers from an early age, and it has worked to some extent. It is sad that we make heroes out of drongos because they play sport or can fart in tune. I just don't understand the celeb thing myself. My heroes are my kids teachers, the good tradesman, the mothers of the world and other real people who do real things that matter. Paying a basketball player a million dollars a game because he is 6'8 doesn't do it for me, and I don't give a flying fin what deodorant he uses.

We live in a world that worships all the wrong people in my view.


Right On Time profile image

Right On Time 5 years ago from Australia

Well written and informative hub. Advertising is about creating a package which works, it's about making you feel like you're a part of something bigger if you buy a product. And celebrities are objects used to sell things. Marketing proofing your kids is smart, but unfortunately a lot of marketers target kids. It's called the "tween segment".


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks for your informed comment right On Time.

I appreciate people like Coca Cola for informing me that I would be young, rich, carefree and beautiful if I buy their sugar water, otherwise I would have been just another loser who missed "the real thing"

In truth I thank my lucky stars that I was bought up by a pragmatic father who could spot bullshit a mile off!


Right On Time profile image

Right On Time 5 years ago from Australia

hehe...that's so quintessentially Aussie - thank God we're in this beautiful down to earth culture.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Right On Time. We are indeed very fortunate to be living in such a culture.

Being bought up in the bush, where the claims made for products got balanced against the real need for them to work as advertised certainly offered a different perspective.

When you are a hundred mile over dirt roads to the nearest shopping centre it becomes a different ball game to being able to slip down the shops and get another product.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York

Oh you of little faith! You must believe in all products for it is written that thou shalt have faith in the sacred brands that drive your economy. You must cast out the prince of poverty and worship the almighty dollar. For only those who truly believe and who have been born again in the spirit of commerce shall be allow to enter into the kingdom of the eternal market to spend all of eternity filling their baskets. I will light a candle and clip a coupon for your redemption. Amen, Brother.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

My first real belly laugh for the day!

Thanks Quilligrapher, you cracked me up somethin awful!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Advertising works because there are plenty of suckers born every minute!


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

True Dallas. Sad but true.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

earnest, advertising works because repetition gets inside people's heads. Hitler had a theory that if you repeat a lie often enough and with enough gusto people will take it for the truth.

I laugh at the gallows humor of some ads that are sexist but people don't get it. Ads like many television programs are aimed at women rather than men. They aim at 'empowering' the most obvious spender/shopper at the expense of those less likely to buy for satisfaction or pleasure.

Takes board games being advertised on television. The father is playing the game, rolling the dice, etc with his wife and children. No way in hell is HE going to win the game being played. If the wife loses it will be to one of the children. Sexist? You bet but a woman is more likely to buy a board game than a man and a child is more likely to urge somebody to buy the game if he or she thinks it looks like fun. Hence aim at either the person likely to do the shopping or likely to demand the product. The father can look goofy. That's fine.

In one coffee ad made a few years ago a man is repairing a clock tower. A woman in an office across from the tower sees the man so she grabs a container of the coffee and hurls it at him. Naturally the man reaches for the coffee container and in so doing slips and falls to his death. Now, I ask you, what would have happened if the ding-bat had been a man instead of a woman and the one repairing the clock tower had been a woman instead of a man? Black humor in a woman working on a clock tower falling to her death over coffee? No. It would be just too outrageous! I imagine there would have been so many complaints that the ad would have been taken off air quick smart. Clever ad? Well, it got me thinking about the rights of human beings and not coffee.

There was an ants pants ad I really liked. Arguably the woman in the ad was easy on the eye and the ant-eater, Rex, was cute. Apparently it was too sexy and it had to be whipped off the air. Too bad I say. If i have to put up with the occasional diaper ad that pisses me off why can't certain silly people put up with the occasional ad involving a sexy dame and an anteater? Well, it comes down to who has clout I suppose.

I got one of those miracle bathroom sprays that is supposed to kill mold. It doesn't spray well at all, just dribbles a bit, so I don't really know if the contents do much against mold or mildew.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

You certainly gathered a great crowd. One thing makes me always wonder, do they really think we rash off and buy the product whether it is true or false, because of the advert. Do people really buy products because they've been advertised?

You have got all the right fiddles mentioned in your hub. Thank you for a grea write-up.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Great comment Ron. I too have noticed the "father as fool" ploy.

I remember The great psycho therapist Marie Luise Von Franz saying something similar to your observations on Hitler when she was present as one of his rallies.

The ad "Sic em Rex!" was sexy and funny. I saw it again briefly on Australian TV a few months back.

I enjoy ads like this that are clever, show the product and entertain.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Hello, hello. I wonder about that as well. I think they do go out and buy, as the advertisers spend so much time and money to research the response to their ads. That is what makes it so scary? Are people really that dumb? Apparently so!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

The ants pants ad with "Sic 'em Rex" can't be shown as an ad on Australian television. Still, every chance they get, documentary makers, those commenting on past ads, bring it back, I would say, in defiance of the ban and I say good on 'em for that.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Ron it was on one of those shows that I saw it recently and I am glad they showed it again also. I don't like low-brow censorship. It was harmless and fun, and only a wowser would see any harm in it.

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