Archive for the 'Bad Products' Category
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
Just used this bad boy to send in my federal tax return:
TCTers are invited to propose analogous postage for other troubling societies, past or present…
Monday, March 11th, 2013
This weekend, while running on a treadmill, I had the extreme displeasure of watching a half-hour infomercial for a product called the CoreBody Reformer. This is a $265 pile of junk that suggests it will burn away the fat of the obese, via a series of exercises supposedly facilitated by it. Here’s a glimpse:
In the full infomercial, which I (tellingly) can’t seem to find on the internet, there are more extended views of people — women — doing the “CoreBody” exercises. These involve balancing on the contraption’s tube while executing a series of balletic movements against some unspecified amount of resistance. Any guesses as to what percentage of the target audience stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever moving like that? Hence, the ubiquitous “results vary” disclaimer in the fine print.
Meanwhile, the real secret to the “success” stories — undoubtedly women paid handsomely to appear as success stories — is not the device and exercises. Also in the fine print at the bottom of the infomercial, you learn that all the “successes” shown in the ad not only posed with their CoreBody Reformers, but “followed the CoreBody Reformer® meal plan.” And guess what? Not only is this rather crucial fact unmentioned in the infomercial, but the details of the “CoreBody Reformer® meal plan” are entirely undisclosed on the product’s website!
One could write a college term paper on the various forms of fraud and theft embodied in this atrocious yet utterly typical scam, not least being the fetishization of the supposed “core” of the body, i.e. the latest variation of the hoary whopper that doing sit-ups will give you a tummy like the models in the ad. One could also note how obesity is such a perfect epidemic for corporate capitalists, a real gold mine. One could ask whether citizens would agree to having the FCC continue granting licenses to broadcasters who use their ethereal desmesnes to air such “paid programming.” One could also ponder the fact that this thing is definitely not small potatoes, in terms of sponsors, as it emanates from the Nautilus, Inc. corporation, which, as it generates over $19,000 in book profits per employee, isn’t big enough to be Fortune 500, but also isn’t close to being a small business.
Suffice, for now, to end with this depressing fact: Consumer Reports endorses this racket!
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
The New York Times today features a piece on the design of the workspace at the ?What If! [note: a fine nominee for the most annoying agency name ever] marketing agency, which “works to expand the markets of businesses like PepsiCo, Pfizer and Virgin.”
The theme is postmodern playground:
The new interiors recall the whimsies of larger creative campuses like Google. There are “stimulation” shelves for employees to display objects; white boards in the elevators (“Smiths or Cure?” read one line of graffiti the other day); a “library” with no books (just wallpaper that looks like books); and vintage stereo components that play vinyl.
Can you guess what the building housing all this behavior-engineering “play” on behalf of corporate sugar water and other forms of cash-farming used to be? Yep, a free-care hospital and a lending library.
For the umpteenth time, Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
In an ecstatic essay at Advertising Age today, marketing creep Ben Elowitz can barely restrain his orgasm over how great the new powers of manipulation will be, once Facebook finishes releasing its latest spying tools to the owners of “the brands who spend $540 billion a year on advertising.”
As part of his report, Elowitz includes this rather remarkable little cartoon, which fairly speaks for itself:
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Despite having its moments, The New York Times squarely remains The New York Times, of course:
Mr. Chávez changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded. But his rule also widened society’s divisions.
Translation: By reducing society’s divisions, Mr. Chavez infuriated society’s overclasses, at home and abroad. They felt less happy, so therefore “society” was more polarized. Overclass = society, in other words.
R.I.P., and muchas gracias, Hugo…
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
So, one of the latest breakthrough products in our ongoing age of wonders is apparently “antiperspirant” that doubles as make-up for armpits, brought to us by the loving hand of the Unilever conglomerate:
The mode of invention for such marvels of appropriate technology is, of course, all the bold and costly research corporations conduct, allegedly on our behalf.
The real object of that research? Invention of new problems:
“Everyone is looking to consumer research for ideas,” [the industry expert] said. “It’s desperation time. Even companies that never were heavy into research, like the upscale department-store brands, are using it, looking for kernels of disappointment [they] can latch onto.” [Ad Age, March 5, 2013]