GOOFS AND GOTCHAS

Friday, January 9, 2009   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Let’s take another trip into the Far, Far, FAR OUT World of Free Enterprise.

Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you into the topsy turvy stratosphere of product advertising, where what you see is not necessarily what you get. Our guide for this journey is Consumer Reports magazine, which keeps a running tab of goofs, glitches, and gotchas in marketing.

Speaking of gotchas, lets make a stop at that opaque planet to see what’s up with strawberries. Kellogg’s has a version of its all-bran cereal called “Strawberry Medley,” claiming to contain “real strawberries.” Well… sort of. Down in the ingredient list there is mention of a few bits of freeze-dried strawberries, but most of the fruit in the box turns out to be “strawberry flavored apples.”

Even less honest, however, is the tempting box of “Whole Sweet Strawberries” From Prime California Produce. “Choose to Eat Natural” says the label – but check the fine print and you’ll find artificial color, FD&C red 40, listed as an ingredient. You’ll also find the secret to the fruit’s advertised sweetness: Sugar. But at least it’s a California product, right? Maybe the box is, but the fine print admits that the strawberries themselves come from China.

Now let’s visit the wacky world of goofs. Golf Digest, a popular monthly magazine for those who love to whack the little white ball around, offers a special subscription for “Just $1 An Issue.” Just below this come-on, however, the ad says: “12 Issues $17.97.” But who’s keeping score?

Goofs can be expected in the game of golf, but you would expect some serious attention to detail from the American Mathematical Monthly stating matter of factly that their periodical is “Published ten times a year.”

Check out more adventures in the strange world of advertising at www.ConsumerReports.org.

“Goofs, Glitches, Gotchas” The Consumer Reports, July, 2007.

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