A lot of consumers have become addicted to weight-loss products because they have seen advertisements with dramatic before-and-after photos of real people.
A recent investigation by The Today Show revealed the validity of the photos from ads and discovered that many of the people featured never heard of the dieting product or even tried it.
Wu-Yi Source Tea has an ad that claims one of its customers lost a dramatic 68 pounds from drinking the product. The ad also offers her photos as proof for those who want to tone down.
When Today contacted Wu-Yi Source Tea, the company said that Brook Shadwell had knowledge of and payment for its use of the images.
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The photos form Wu-Yi Source Tea's ad was known to be of Shadwell. The caption for the ad read, "Wu-Yi Tea is the only one I would have used. I'm extremely happy with the results. Looks like I'll be drinking tea now."
Shadwell told Today in an interview that the ad is "completely false, I didn't even drink the tea. I haven't even tried the tea. I don't even know what this tea is!"
The Daily Mail reported that Today also found one woman’s photo on promotional materials for several weight-loss drugs in which her testimonials are attributed to different names, such as “Jenny Conrad” and “Kathy Thompson.” However, the woman is not even a dieter, but a model in a stock photo manipulated over and over again.
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“It's easy to fake those photos, and so consumers should not think that that reflects what they'll actually get,” Mary Engle, the associate director of advertising practices at the Federal Trade Commission, explained to Today.