Not. Actual. Users.

*No, this is not about Josh, autism, or any trouble I've stirred up on Twitter recently - but it's still me! For anyone new to the blog, I do on occasion like to go off-topic, though it is usually vaguely related to my life somehow, so don't run away :) *

 

There is a commercial I've noticed recently. It's for an anti-aging injectable called "Sculptra® aesthetic" . You may have seen it. At first it seems like a pretty good ad - a clever narrative, lots of good looking, mature women and some catchy background music. Your first response to this is likely what mine was - well, sounds better than injecting toxins in to your face and those ladies all look really good, not fake or like their skin is going to rip from being too tight  ....

 

eh, hi Joan...

 

 

Exactly.

 

One morning I was in the loft while Zach was watching something and the commercial came on yet again. Interesting that I've only ever seen it on TeenNick/Nick-at-Nite/Nickelodeon. Which kind of makes you wonder who the hell they're targeting - I mean, I like i-Carly as much as the next guy but come on! Though I have to keep in mind that Zach has learned more about birth control pills, periods, and ovulation predicting from the conversations we have to have after seeing all the ads on this particular network (see my post http://planetjosh.squarespace.com/momversation-posts/2010/5/13/nick-at-nite-an-unexpected-addition-to-my-sons-reproductive.html), so I guess I'm not completely surprised. Granted I don't watch very much tv, so it's possible that this ad is running on the major networks as well, but I have not seen it run during any of the few things I do manage to catch.

Either way, it certainly gets a lot of air time on Nick and its various incarnations throughout the day.

So it's on, and this time, I notice something. In tiny writing at the bottom of the screen, after they start showing these lovely women and talking about their product, is this: Not actual users

Ummm, wow, what?! So I keep watching, this time, my eyes glued to the bottom of the screen. All sorts of interesting things come up on there, I now see. There is one photo of an actual user shown in the middle of the ad, it's time-lapsed, to show the difference in her face over time. But then back to all the other women, who do not use this product, but look terrific. I was a bit taken aback. If you are not paying very close attention you are going to think the women being shown are examples of what the product results look like when in fact, they have nothing to do with it.

When it came on again, I noticed something else - it has not been tested for nor should it be used around the eyes or lips.

OK. So, the places where women end up with the most lines, are not what we're helping with here. So, what exactly is this Sculptra® for, anyway??? Again, only from pausing the spot so that I could read the tiny writing during the middle of the ad, did I find out that it is specifically to be used for smile lines. The lines you can get that run from the outside of your nose, down to the sides of your mouth. And that's it. Nowhere in the audio narrative of this ad do they specify this. They talk about "aging" in general. They show women with smooth skin on their foreheads, around their eyes, even the "actual user" has baby's butt smooth skin everywhere except for those smile lines. Aw... my ovaries just cried...  

ANYWAY. You look at these faces and you see this skin and you have the idea that this product is going to make you look like that. It won't.

  

This is the ad. If you didn't know what to look for, what would you have thought about it?

 

I'm not completely naive, I do realize that marketers are going to do what they can to sell products. That's what they get paid for. But I was shocked that all but one of the women shown in the ad have nothing to do with the product. How effective is this really going to be, when a woman goes to her Dr or the spa that's offering this, and finds out it's not what she thought?

And I can't say that I really like the medication ads that list off every possible side effect (you know, like oily anal discharge, coma and death), with brutal and weirdly matter-of-fact honesty, any more than this one. But at least you know what you're getting in to without having to put on your bi-focals (I can say that, I wear them. NOW GET OFF MY LAWN.)

Yes, they have it all in writing on the ad, so they are, in fact, being honest with us. Technically. But I probably saw that ad more than a dozen times before I noticed the fine print. And I have no doubt that's what they count on with most people.

I think it is just one more way our "reality", and I use that term loosely, is being blurred by the media these days.

Not actual users.

I'd like to go to a Sculptra® provider, talk to them all about it and then when they ask if I want to get started, point to a tiny strip of paper taped to the bottom of my shirt that has the words Not an actual buyer written on it.