Jan 4, 2008

The Real Digital Revolution™ In Action

So there's a room in the Toad house that was originally a porch and thus doesn't stay as warm as the rest of the house when the temperature drops below 30º.

We have a fan-style space heater in there now that works fine, but I was intrigued by something called the EdenPure space heater, which has been heavily advertised on TV and in the Wall Street Journal. If you click on the image above, you can see the ad in its entirety, but if you're too lazy, the claim is that it's safe/cool enough for a child to sit on it and that it heats the room from floor to ceiling. This was intriguing to me because (a) I have kids and (b) since there's no basement under it, the floor of this room often gets cold.

Now the ads certainly make the product sound great and the web site has lots of rave reviews. But before I shelled out $300 for one (easily three or four times the price of other space heaters) I did a quick Google search online.

Which proved to be a wise move.

Consumer Reports, it seems, was not a fan. Neither were dozens of people on a site called "InfomercialRatings.com" (and they all seemed to have similar complaints). I found a whole mess of other links that led to message boards and blogs and the like, none of whom seemed to have anything good to say about it. (Though to be fair, I did find this one positive review.)

I saved $300 and much grief. The makers of the EdenPure have a bigger problem, however, because the word is out that they are selling an inferior product that doesn't live up to the claims they make in their advertising.

For those of you new to the blog, this is what I call The Real Digital Revolution™, the fact that people no longer rely on advertising for product information, that they can find out the truth about products from a variety of sources- expert and amateur- online, and that this forces advertisers to be honest and to strive to create better products and services.


Anonymous said...

Man, that is so true. If there ever was a time (and there was) when we as ad people could claim stuff left and right and get away with it, it's over. I'm presently working on a pitch for a company and this involves a lot of ecology and sustainability stuff. You know; green marketing. Ecological extremists (not negative...) will look everything up, being very well informed and knowledgeable - if you claim to do x to help bring about a more sustainable environment, my god you better live up to it. But this is true to every category/product/service/whatever really. It's cool.

Anonymous said...

It's true, I agree with you, but we are forgetting the millions of non-savvy consumers out there who don't research, aren't interested in it, and just buy based on their initial impulse after seeing an or ten.

They will always exist and that's why even products (like video games and movies) with horrible ratings still sell well.

Anonymous said...

you know i agree with you on this one. bullshit has run its course. and that's good. just really bad for everyone in the "image" business.

HighJive said...

Quick question: Did you really trademark The Real Digital Revolution™ phrase?

If you do a google search, you’ll find others using it. Plus, you might want to have a few words with this guy.

Stanley Johnson said...

The concept of 'Social media' is much discussed these days. I'd wager this is a great example of social media in action.

Not for selling stuff, but for determining whether or not something is right for you based on the experiences of others.

Anonymous said...

fisrt sign of crap in advertising:

the phrase "_______ have already been sold"

if you see that phrase, walk away. you don't even have to do any research, it's bullshit from the go.

Anonymous said...

People have always done research on major purchases, notably cars. Before the internet people read reviews in Consumer Reports, went on test drives, etc. before making a purchase.

Now with the internet people are doing it with smaller purchases – in the hundreds or even tens of dollars.

But just as car advertising has always been effective then, our advertising can still be effective on smaller purchases. Car advertising never really sold cars directly. It got people to consider a model or brand and go into a dealership for a test drive. It also created a brand image.

That's all we can expect of most advertising now.

Volkswagen in the 90s was a great example. The great ads drove people to dealerships, but they were often disappointed in the ordinary cars and brought Hondas instead. But when they had an interesting product (the new beetle) it sold.

RFB said...

How about The Toad® Real Digital Revolution™?

The same has been true of hotel and resorts with Trip Advisor and the like. I'm always amused at the differences between collateral for a nice resort vs. what actual guests of the place say on Trip Advisor. Not to mention their very real and bland pictures of the places, quite in contrast with the beautiful saturated images found in the collateral.

Anonymous said...


people always felt they should research purchases back in the pre-webular times. but how often was it feasible? buying magazines, trips to libraries = pain in ass. advertising played a bigger role then because it was more difficult to disprove it. now it's all literally, ahem, at your fingertips.