Tag Archives: advertising hoax

Scam Bam

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed earlier today, I landed on an ad for weight-loss supplements. This happens all the time. Facebook must really want me to lose weight. But this ad stood out to me because it claimed to be the secret to Adele’s new, slim figure. I clicked the ad, something I rarely do, but only because I knew it had to be riddled with photoshop and fallacies. It was.

ScamBamA quick Google search revealed this sort of scam is pretty common. According to DailyMailUK, “An internet celebrity diet scam which uses fake endorsements from famous names such as Adele… is raking in millions of pounds” (Poulter). (Translation to all my American friends, pounds refers to the currency, not the unit of weight. I can see how this might be confusing in the given context.) Said scam occurred over two years ago under the guise of a different drug, or at least a different name, and resurfaced today on my Facebook news feed. A sacrilegious blow to #TalkBeautyToMeTuesday, so naturally, I took this as a personal attack, against Adele, myself, and women everywhere.

I admire Adele for many things—her voice, obviously, her intelligence, her elegance and class—but mostly because she doesn’t give a fuck about what people think about her body. So when confronted with this highly suspect claim against Adele, I didn’t buy it for a second. But, sadly, a lot of people probably did.

In my gut, I knew the claim couldn’t be true, simply out of love and admiration for Adele, but the detective in me wanted to properly and publicly debunk this myth. So the investigation persisted. Did Adele flip the script on women everywhere? Adele would never… But that got me thinking, even if she did endorse this drug, why is her endorsement buying this operation so much business? What difference does it make to the average consumer what Adele does with her weight?

There’s no use exposing these scams and shutting them down. They just resurface under different names, different made up celebrity endorsements, different photoshopped before and after pictures showing different fake results. There’s no stopping the scheme because the formula is foolproof. It plays to people’s fears and insecurities. The problem isn’t the scam itself; the problem is our receptiveness. It may not have worked on me, but many people fall into this trap. Why do they buy it?

They buy it because they love and admire Adele as much as I do. And it’s sad, but true: Monkey see, monkey do. If Adele can’t accept her body, why should you? The ad alleges that, “Adele expressed in an interview how she always felt insecure about being the ‘fat singer,’” and that, “One of her producers went as far to say that ‘Her weight was getting a little out of hand.’” Thus, not only did Adele consider her body inadequate, her producer deemed it unacceptable. Now Adele’s career is at stake.

Adele supposedly goes on to say, “I don’t know what was more rewarding, my amazing weight loss transformation or seeing the look on those producers faces!” And voila, Adele’s slim new figure secures her future happiness and musical success. All thanks to this weight loss supplement dream drug.

The beauty industry profits off our insecurities, however, as Jes Baker once boldly told us, “Self-loathing is an advertising hoax.” The insecurities this industry relies on in its customers were planted and enforced by them, the beauty industry. Not you. You weren’t born hating your body. You learned to hate it. You were taught to hate your body. They tell us to correct our imperfections, and they sell us everything we need to fix them. They supply the products, and we buy them, but who’s the one creating the demand? They’re selling us beauty as if we don’t already have it, and it’s up to you if you believe them. I’d venture so far as to say the beauty industry in its entirety is as much a sham as this scam is, built on the myth that we’re not beautiful enough, and I don’t buy it. Do you?

Adele doesn’t buy into that beauty bullshit either, but even if she did, celebrities succumb to this kind of pressure constantly. That doesn’t mean that you should too. The things that other people do with their bodies, and the way others feel about your body has nothing to do with you. Next time an impulse beauty purchase finds you, next time you catch yourself about to buy, ask yourself why.