Columnist tests advertisors' claims to see if their products really work

It's New Year's resolutions time, and already some of us have determined to exercise and shape-up to look trimmer, younger, better during 2014.

Advertisers are well aware of our vanity so it's no wonder they churn out phrases to allure us into buying their products. Know why? We suckers swallow such stuff.

(Many years ago, I used to write, and deliver, TV commercials, so I know what I'm talking about.)

Now, just for fun, do you recognize any of the following come-on wording?

"New anti-aging miracle gives instant facial perfection! Our clinically tested cream will tone, hydrate, protect, firm facial skin and remove wrinkles - all in just one application!"

My mirror shows so many facial lines that others probably think I have to screw my hat on so, of course, I eagerly read these siren-sounding promises.

Then there's toothpaste to glamorize your molars, giving you "a dazzling smile while it whitens your teeth - and freshens breath - all at once!"

Next, another attention-getter: a pair of shampoo and conditioner bottles someone gave me for Christmas. The outside of the box shows a fresh face (its owner undoubtedly uses the wrinkle-remover potion described above) topped by a thick mop of hair which completely obliterates her right eye.

I should've remembered this latest see-with-one-eye trend when I visited my optometrist last week for new prescription glasses - I could've saved half the cost had I just had my left eye tested and simply ordered a monocle.

But, back to the shampoo that promises me that it is "body-enhancing and cleanses hair of follicle-clogging sebum." (What's sebum?)

As for the conditioner's contents, it's "infused with juicy green apple extract and vitamin E while giving the enjoyment of orchard-grown-apple gentleness to bring out the natural beauty of your locks."

Yes, I'm aware Matthew 10:30 says, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered," but mine are so few, it doesn't take a biblical being to count them.

Then there are more claims aiming at other parts of your body, plus every item concerning the ultimate in your home, car, education and so on…

So, as yet another New Year's resolution time rolls around and the futility of trying to appear as the ads promise if I'll just obey their claims, I suddenly recall a Hans Christian Anderson story I read back in fourth grade: "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Doubtless you'll recall how a couple of swindlers appealed to the king's vanity by promising to weave him "the most wonderful cloth in the world with patterns and marvelously beautiful colors." But the cloth couldn't be seen by anyone who was stupid or unfit for his office.

It was all pretense by the swindlers, but no one - including the emperor - would admit to not being able to see the finished product, each fearing being thought stupid, so the king paraded down the street to the acclaim of all… until a child shouted, "But he has nothing on."

So why am I relating this old account? Just to warn you not to slather me with claims how brilliant I appear after my trying all of the above remedies.

You and I both already know: They didn't work.

©Copyright 2014 by Isabel Torrey, a King City resident and columnist.

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