A number of sketchy companies sell their products online by using the faces of famous people and fake endorsements. This has made extremely difficult for ordinary people to really trust what they see on the Internet. Companies that make nutritional supplements would always want to say that Mehmet Oz, host of Dr. Oz show and Oprah Winfrey’s health guru, has endorsed their products. Unfortunately, he does not endorse products. So, what do those sketchy pill-pushers do? They include him in their ads anyway.
Dr. Oz flew to San Diego recently to confront Tarr, a company that sells Garcinia Cambogia. You can watch the video here. He promoted the product as an effective aid for dieting on his show a year ago. Tarr featured Oz’s picture as well as video from one of his shows on a website that sells Garcinia Cambogia. The product was tested and it was observed that it contained only 10% of the ingredient that helps to lose weight. Dr. Oz hired a private investigator to identify the name of the company that promoted the website. Tarr even ignored the cease-and-desist letter which called for the removal of the video from the site.
According to Dr. Oz, if everyone made high-quality products, the problem would be of a different kind, but fraudsters create fake websites and Facebook pages that sell ineffective products to people using his name.
Recently, Hugh Jackman, Sean Penn, Matt Damon and John Travolta were seen in ads for men’s health products featured all over Facebook. They imply as though the movie stars are endorsing the secret ingredients or methods that are being pushed. In one of these ads, Travolta’s head was photoshopped onto the body of another guy. Facebook may not be responsible for creating these ads or boosting likenesses, but if they are misleading and violating the rights of celebrities, then they do violate a few sections of their terms and conditions.
Work At Home Institute that teaches affiliate marketing and other ways of making money online uses sketchy advertising practices and fake endorsements to sell their product. Their advertising page features a fake news report in which Bobbie Robinson, a work at home mom, talks about how she makes money on the Internet. The advertisement is designed to appear like a news report. The advertising page of Work At Home Institute also features the logos of Fox News, CNN, USA Today, NBC News, etc., to make it appear as though their product is endorsed by these big companies. However, if you read what is written in fine print, you will realize that work from home jobs have been featured in these channels. This means that reports have been done by these networks about people who work from home. It does not have anything to do with the Work At Home Institute.
Super Replicas, a replica car manufacturer based at Panama, featured Tanner Foust and certain clips from BBC’s “Top Gear” for selling its products. This is part of Super Replicas’ online selling strategy. Their presence has grown to include 5 or 6 websites with names such as topgeartvseries.com and topgeartvshow.com. Chip Foose who was featured in Super Replicas’ videos has said he is not involved in any manner with the company. A BBC World Productions spokeswoman said that Tanner Foust has nothing to do with the company though they say online that Foust is their CEO.
Dr. Oz who is cracking down on fake endorsements recommends that people should be wary of celebrity endorsements. This is because famous people, especially the well-known medical experts, can generate a great deal of sales. Therefore, unscrupulous companies make use of celebrity likenesses in order to sell their products.
In most states, people and companies that make use of name, likeness and other personal attributes of someone (without obtaining permission) for a commercial purpose can be sued. Some states do not allow another person’s identity to be used for the personal benefit of the user irrespective of whether the purpose is strictly commercial or not. The two distinct legal claims that are potentially applicable to such unauthorized use are invasion of privacy by way of misappropriation of likeness or name and the right of publicity violation. The right of publicity refers to a person’s right to control as well as make money from the commercial use of the person’s identity.
Dr Oz Show Part 1
Dr Oz Show Part 2