I never had an issue with advertising. It is part of the game. And “endorsements” essentially take advertising to the next level. Respected people do these endorsements, top actors, athletes and podcasters. The rationale is that we (the audience) all know the game. We know they are paid and we take ads with a grain of salt. We also expect reputable people to only advertise products they think have value. Even a product like Pepsi that is the exact same thing as Coke has value and is not worse than Coke. If you endorse a brand that is fair too, brands have a right to flaunt their feathers.
So why do some endorsements make me vomit? Is it because I don’t like the person? Or is it something else? After much deliberation, discussion, introspection and analysis I came to a satisfying answer.
If you watch someone like Howard Stern or the lovely and talented Sarah Lane pitch a product, you see that they are doing their job. They read the copy, and if it is a silly product they have fun with it. Whereas when others do ads, they lie and lie and oversell. You think this is my imagination and my bias but it is not. I assure ya.
It is very subtle but there is a Grand Canyon of difference between endorsing a product and outright lying. The lovely and talented Sarah Lane will say, Square Space is great, it’s the best, you will love it etc. In advertising jargon this is called “puffing” and is legal. Whereas Leo will say I love it, I use it and insert a fictitious story. The pronoun “I” is key. Preying on our trust.
Pop Quiz -One of the following two statements is a lie:
- Totaldrama is the #1 site in the world
- Totaldrama gets over 700,000 hits a day
Casper Mattresses: A mattress was delivered to his home, he made a video in a foyer then threw it away.
Citrix & Hipchat: Two competing services but he uses both?
Personal Capital: He won’t take the few minutes to put in his information, his account has two #s in it.
Smart Things: This product is total shit.
Bark Box: Possibly the biggest waste of money ever invented. Dogs like sticks, rags and meat.
Jack Erwin: He only wears them on days when doing the ad and he gets them free. They must suck.
Zip Recruiter: They have hired zero employees via Zip Recruiter.
Do your fans a favor, advertise, we get it, but stop lying. And don’t force yourself to use it just so you can say you use it. I don’t mind if you praise any of the products, it’s the lying I can not stomach.
Also, people work hard building their names and brands and they earn the right to sell their names. This man uses Amber McArthur’s name every time he pitches Freshbooks and Kevin Rose’s name every time he pitches Legalzoom, is that right? Pay them!
You go too far.