Sweaty feet = profits

Just when I thought I had seen all the ways unscrupulous advertisers could come up with to separate idiots from their money, along come detoxifying foot pads. If you haven’t yet seen any of the commercials for these things, they are a hoot. Here’s a typical ad for this miracle product:

All the ads pretty much employ the same selling tactics and points, which are summarized thusly:

  • Scare the customer. Inform the target that the world is an icky place, full of dangerous chemicals and substances. Once you’ve frightened them a little bit you’ve created in their minds a need for a solution. “What’s that you say? The level of cancer-causing Monstronium particles has increased 400% in the last decade? Help me!”
  • Once you’ve convinced the target of the dangers of these known (and unknown) problems – and convinced them that they suffer from ill health and low energy not because of their slothful and unhealthy lifestyle, but from things they have no control over – show them the easy solution. Make sure to pipe in cheerier music and graphics for extra effect.
  • Cloud the waters. What makes the foot pads work? Why, “natural tree and bamboo extracts” of course! What do they do exactly, and how do they do it?  They somehow “restore balance,” just like plants do.  Wait, what?
  • Play up the mysterious (read: Asian) nature of the products. Many people are skeptical of Western medicine’s ability to promote good health, and will ingest/rub/inhale just about any remedy with an Asian-sounding name or logo.
  • Testify! Nothing makes the target feel better than to see actual suck…er, people who have benefited from the foot pads already. Because the best evidence is paid anecdotal evidence!
  • Warn against cheap imitations. By letting the target know that other companies making these foot pads are not up to snuff, you instantly plant the idea that your product is the real deal and not a scam.
  • Back up your claims with scientific “proof.” Those same scientists who can’t help us detoxify on our own? Well they’re apparently good enough to certify that the pads work.
  • And the biggest selling point is the overwhelming visual evidence. The pads turn brown! That must mean they’ve removed toxins from the body, right? Or it could just mean that certain ingredients in the pads (like powdered wood vinegar) turn brown when exposed to moisture.

I think you get the point. Look – I’ve got nothing against natural medicines and remedies. I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think that only pills put out by major pharmaceutical companies can cure ills and promote good health.  But I see these cleansing foot pads and my bullshit meter is in the red.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that whatever chemicals your feet are sweating out would do so without the aid of these things?  Or are there some magical leeching qualities in vinegar that I’m not aware of?

Come to think of it, there are.  They magically leech money from your wallet.

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