there is no question that tv programs are a great place to advertise, but if you’re going to do it, be smart. The show must have viewers.
When an ad for a product or service appears on a television program, the viewer may think it’s from someone they know and trust. Of course, this does not bother those who want to sell products or services; they understand how commercials can shake off potential customers who may hesitate because of concerns about privacy and safety. But consumers should take notice as well: A commercial could be placing information in the hands of people who might well damage their health! This is especially worrisome when there is no disclosure that the product was paid for by pharmaceutical companies working with TV programming networks — even though such arrangements are common practice among advertisers today (Lundstrom 2002). Some examples:
Six popular medical-diet books were written by doctors affiliated with drug companies involved in weight loss research (Lundstrom 2002)
Ads promoting prescription drugs appear on dozens of daytime talk shows hosted by famous entertainers (Friedman 2003a; Lundstrom 2002)
Many ads for vitamins and herbs promoted during prime time network news broadcasts suggest that taking these supplements will improve heart health without mentioning the fact that many contain substances banned by federal law — including ephedra alkaloids and synephrine — which pose serious health risks (Smith 2001; Lanphear 2000). Likewise, ads aimed toward children and teens often