Advertisers shout and dance about how easy your life will be with one little pill.  Supplements claim to make the pounds melt off or make you more of a man with a “free” trial bottle and inflated shipping and handling fees.    My suspicious mind asks that if a pill actually worked that effectively, safely and quickly, wouldn’t there be more proof out there?  Also, wouldn’t the pharmaceutical companies with all their means have jumped on it already? Years later, I’ll read independent, scientific studies showing no measurable affect with those miracle treatments.

            I also suspected that a typical TV ad was not cheap, but was unsure of the numbers.  A cursory online perusal estimations for the medium-sized market which I live (Cleveland metro area population 1.2 million), an ad charge runs between $5-$45 CPM (cost per thousand viewers).  The price is determined by time slot and frequency of ad runs.  This does not include the cost to hire actors, crew, equipment and space to film.  So, if something costs a large sum to produce, red flags go up for me when I see a company “giving supplements away.” 

Of course, all is not what it seems in the world of advertising.  We may already know that in one part of our minds, but may be unaware of how egregious the missteps may be.  I remember reading the account of an athlete who discovered his personal before & after online photos being misused by a company trying to sell pills promising similar results in 30 days.  In actuality, he went from scrawny to buff in……4 years!  This change, of course, took diet and steady weight training.  Always question the source.  Thankfully, there are real people, who have successfully changed their bodies, who can tell you how to go about it safely. 

             I’m amused by vintage ads:  “Guinness beer for Strength”, Celluloid (clothing) Starch to “protect against contagious diseases” and “Dr. Batty’s Asthma Cigarettes” which also allegedly handled hay fever and foul breath.  In these old ads, we can more easily detect the deception.  When the ad content is current and relatable, our brains may conclude that the ad must have some truth in it or else it wouldn’t be in the newspaper or TV, etc.  I can’t imagine the length of time and expertise required if every magazine and media venue were required to sufficiently research each ad for proof of medical accuracy, effectiveness and safety.  By watching ads of a bygone era, perhaps it will help us distance us from the pull of the promise today.  Hey, do you think that might also work for politics?

In health,

Dr. Valerie


  1. I have always been warry of anything that advertised “miracle” anything, but it is still easy for anyone to fall for fake advertising & shell out your dollars without recognizing something is false or a scam, This article is an important reminder to be watchful of something that is “free” or has the word, “miracle” attached to an ad.


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