Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fight Back and the Era of Infomercials.

I miss Fight Back. You all remember that show, it was like a proto-type Mythbusters that challenged the claims made in advertising. The show ran for 18 seasons and was amazingly popular. Somethings I didn't know, but found out at Fight For instance, the number of claims that where true was pretty amazing, according to the history page:
One of its most popular features was the commercial challenges, which were entertaining as well as informative. The challenges included products being dropped from a helicopter, or being smashed with wrecking balls, to test claims of strength ... the popular "Timex Watch" challenges (which were all successful, by the way) ... durability tests featuring "Geeta the Elephant," a series regular from the Los Angeles Zoo, who tested the strength of products ranging from roof tiles to water beds. David recalls that 95% of all challenges proved the companies' claims, but the 5% failure rate sent worried manufacturers into a panic.

Originally I was going to lament the passing of such a show, but .86 seconds on the internet and it turns out that David Horowitz is going strong and giving consumer news on the internet. But as with most things it's not done to fulfill my lazy direct needs. Also, to parallel the eventual disappearance of that show and the change in advertising regulation that created the beast we know as the infomercial.

I don't have a remote for my TV and sometimes I just let the thing drift into infomercial because I get involved with something else or I'm just outside the door having a cigar and don't want to come in just to click through all the channels to see if there is anything on. There are a lot of vague, result and testimonial oriented programming on that promises that I'll be rich and beautiful as long as I call before the infomercial is over.

Thing is, I'm a naturally curious cat. I want to know how these systems are supposed to work. Now, I am the son of a real estate developer-you can't convince me that it's a good way to make money in your spare time. I don't buy the 'get rich quick' idea, I just want to know how they think it works and why it doesn't, explained simply by people who tried it and then buttressed by an expert.

Now I think that there is some sort of copyright deal that disallows such a thorough review of the product, after all if someone explained to me how it was supposed to work and the kinks in its system I wouldn't need to buy the systems. But I don't want to buy the systems, I want someone else to do it and satisfy my curiosity.

I want my own personal Horowitz that I can send off to tell me why I can't really get a house for $455 or earn $15,000 in my underwear, or is it a tape worm that causes people to lose 45 pounds in one month?

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