Skepticism

Amish Fireplaces, Trigosamine®, and Other Suspect Products

My most recent article has just magically appeared on Bostonist! Here’s a click-tease:

Times are tough for magazines and newspapers in need of advertising dollars. That may be why the Boston Metro is raking in the bucks by devoting full two-page spreads to the printed version of the infomercial, cleverly disguised as actual articles with the word “advertisement” printed in tiny font above them.

Though not as endearing as the ShamWow or the ubiquitous Snuggie, the Metro’s ads do have a certain amount of cheesiness. Last month, commuters were treated to HeatSurge‘s miracle Amish electric fireplaces. These really are a miracle, considering that the Amish completely reject technology like, oh, electricity. The ads came complete with Photoshop-ilicious pics of Amishy-looking people in a barn, putting the finishing touches on blazing electric fireplaces. “Call this 1-800 number in the next 48 hours only! Hurry!” Sure. As it happens, the Amish only made the mantles and the Better Business Bureau received dozens of complains about the company, which has advertised the heaters as “free”—with the purchase of a $300 Amish-made mantle.

[Read more @ Bostonist →]

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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15 Comments

  1. Advertising dollars have shifted from real estate brokers to pseudo-docs promoting fatbuster pills, acupuncture, chiropractic, and of course– remove the mercury fillings. The economy has not hurt those that peddle snake oil. I was just wondering if Starbuck’s was going to add a colonic to their menu?

  2. In the UK, a printed infomercial is called an ‘advertorial’. See what they did there?

    Damn you and your not opening in a new windowness! This is the age of tabbed browsing, stop sending me away from the site.

    *shakes fist of doom*

  3. I totally want a damn Snuggie. I DON’T CARE IF I’LL LOOK STUPID! YOU LOOK STUPID!

    @tkingdoll: Middle-click it! Unless you have a Mac. If that’s the case, I think you have to cross your fingers while clicking, or maybe click with your pinky.

  4. Oh man, what a great idea, I’m going to take this to a whole new level. I’m taking out ad space in the singles section of the newspaper:

    Interview with the Worlds Greatest Lover
    By Sherry Lovelace

    I recently caught up with the world’s greatest lover, skepticalhippie, who just a week ago was declared such by the prestigious Karma Sutra Institute of Totally Awesome Lovemaking.

    Sherry: Mr. skepticalhippie, you are by any measure the worlds greatest lover, determined by the Karma Sutra Institute of Totally Awesome Lovemaking. How does that make you feel?

    skepticalhippie: Well Sherry, it makes me feel good, but not as good as all those beautiful, busty, fit ladies out their who are willing to buy me dinner and give it up on the first date, for them, it’s cosmically orgasmic.

  5. Ahh, yes. I see the snake oil salesmen have adjusted with the times…

    Good catch, Rebecca. I see that ad every Sunday in the Parade “magazine*” that comes with the Washington Post. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    *which is not even good enough to wrap fish in.

  6. Stacy Lovelaces Love Advise,
    The sex advice columnist for the modern day women.

    Ms. Lovelace, you are a well respected sex advise columnist, who has transformed the world of love making for the modern day women. Through your research, providing the most insightful advise out there, you must have been with a few men in your time. Inquiring minds want to know, who was the best man you have ever been with?
    –Searching for Lovely Ultimate Time

    Thanks Searching for Lovely Ultimate Time, I receive letters like this from readers wondering about my personal life and about my many liaisons. It is true that to provide you with the most accurate information available I do, do my research, with literally hundreds of research subjects. Through out my days there has been one man who has stood apart from the crowd, his name I will never forget. He goes by skepticalhippie. Not to much is known about him or where he comes from. Some say he’s a monk, practiced in the ancient art of karma sutra, come to show the western woman his mystical ways. Other’s think he’s a cyborg, half human, half robot hooker from the future, come back in time to rock your world.

    As it turns out he is available for dates for a few select ladies. If you’re a busty, fit, women willing to pay for dinner, and willing to give it up on the first date, then you may to be able to experience the greatest time of your life. I don’t want to give you to many details, other then to say after we were done, I could do nothing more than cry from the sheer joy and pass out from sheer exertion from the ridiculous number of orgasms I experienced with him. Don’t miss out, call him today!

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