What Would the FTC Say?

Are you kidding me?! That is more than likely what the FTC would have to say with the continued lack of consideration towards the past and most recent FTC Guidelines. The FTC has written these guidelines to protect the consumers. Infomercial Testimonial Group has published numerous articles since 2004 in an attempt to protect the infomercial industry concerning just this issue. However, it all seems to fall on many deaf ears and ultimately creates an unfair advantage for the abusers while playing with FTC fire. In essence, companies are stealing YOUR sales by not abiding by the guidelines.

Are you kidding me?! – Example 1. “We are looking for 3 females 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 need the models/actresses beforehand.” But wait, there is more….. “Your job will be to arrive at a park or beach (to be determined) and read a prewritten script about your workout plan. This will consist of saying, “I’ve toned down, I have more energy, I have dropped one size, etc”. (San Diego) Date: 2010-02-06, 6:05PM PST

Are you kidding me?!

At the end of the day, it is simply about creating a level playing field for all in the industry when it comes to testimonials. The unfortunate reality is that the industry does seem to still have more than just a few bad apples. There are many ‘good guys’ in the industry doing their best to abide by the rules and not intentionally or unintentionally deceiving the consumer. However, on a daily basis some production companies and casting agencies are blatantly recruiting for materially connected ‘testimonials’ and not disclosing the fact. The typicality issue is a completely different article yet is mute if the testimonial recruitment process was erroneously conducted from the beginning. If a supposed testimonial provider or experienced infomercial producer uses these tactics, then it is obvious they do NOT know enough to provide a legitimate testimonial service and are setting up themselves and their client for potentially painful FTC scrutiny. Usually, the actual client is not even aware of this practice as some production and casting agencies convince their clients they have it handled, doing their best to keep the testimonial budget line item. Some companies utilize cheap and faulty recruitment and research practices while thinking more of their profitability from ‘casting’ a few ringer testimonials rather than thinking of client long term issues. Take a look at recent headlines and excerpts from 3 different examples. If you are one of the ones who conduct testimonial programs properly – this DOES affect you. Think of the sales stolen away from you by a competitor that, even from the beginning, didn’t follow the rules/guides.

Are you kidding me?! Example 2: WEIGHT LOSS INFOMERCIAL TESTIMONIALS! “We are seeking motivated men and women between 25 and 50 years of age who have between 10 and 40 pounds to lose. Specifications: Testimonials (can be real people or actors) Females: Ages 25 to 60 (mostly 25-40’s). Caucasian. These women must be 10-20 pounds overweight. We can also see a few thin/normal weight females who have cellulite. Most importantly they must be motivated to want to lose the cellulite and do the 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 show. Meaning, a legitimate testimonial provider should only be one who does not have a percentage share of the success. At this point ignorance to the guidelines is a non excuse. The title says it all -Are you kidding me?!”

These are only a few examples of companies around the country who, more than likely (you be the judge), are not going to divulge the material connection they have created with their testimonial program. Are you kidding me?! This is a huge FTC No No.

Please note: These advertisements are real and very recent as of this article. Here is even another example of how not to recruit for perceived non-materially connected testimonials.

Are you kidding me?! Example 3: “Fitness weight loss program is looking for testimonial actors to go on fitness program for a National TV Infomercial project. Great exposure and TV footage (25-45 Female ) testimonial actress needed women ages 25-45 TV National campaign must be in NYC area willing to workout with trainer”

So, if after having read this article you still are one who recruits testimonials in such a manner as described above then the only rational assumption is that you are intentionally deceiving the consumer, intentionally challenging the FTC and challenging those in the industry doing 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! Next article will provide tips on proper recruitment procedures to get your testimonial program off on the right foot. Eddie E Gaut Detuag Testing Centers – home of Infomercial Testimonial Group 714 850 9777