We’ve all been victims of false advertising and marketing gimmicks: costly anti-aging creams that promise to dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (but never actually do); juice cleanses that claim to rid the body of toxins despite the fact that there’s no scientific evidence supporting such claims.
We are a nation obsessed with quick fixes. Desperate for a youthful glow or a dimple-free derriere, we invest our money and vanity in products we think will work like magic. When--invariably--they don’t, most of us shamefully acknowledge (at least to ourselves) that we fell for a marketing ploy and move on with our lives. But every now and then, consumers want revenge for being deceived. To wit: two women are suing lingerie brands Maidenform and Wacoal, whose lines of “anti-cellulite” shapewear they claim did not, in fact, slim their tummies, hips, thighs, rears or “shape and sculpt” their figures, as the products purport to do.
Christine Caramore and Michelle Martin, both of New York, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the lingerie companies in Brooklyn Federal Court, claiming to have been deceived by clever and false advertising. “As a result of defendants’ misrepresentations, plaintiffs and the class have suffered out-of-pocket losses, did not receive the benefit of the bargain and have been damaged,” reads the complaint. Oh, the injustice!
Indeed, it seems absurd that these women could actually win the lawsuit, walking (or waddling) away with a hefty sum of money. But it wouldn’t be the first time a clothing company has paid for misleading advertising. In 2012, Skechers coughed up $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the footwear company’s “leg-toning” Shape-up sneakers were a sham. In 2011, FTC extracted $25 million from Reebok for a similar product.
All advertising is, in a sense, false advertising. But we Americans are a lazy and litigious bunch, wanting to shed pounds without expending much energy and make piles of money without lifting a finger. Shall we expect legal action against McDonalds for telling us we’ll “love it” when, after an afternoon of stomach cramps, we very much don’t? Smirnoff Vodka promises us endless nights with leggy and promiscuous models, when the reality is usually less attractive and often ends with a brutal hangover.
While Christine Caramore and Michelle Martin might walk away richer, it will nonetheless be at the expense of their dignity and with the shameful acknowledgement that their bank accounts are swollen because they fell for a scam. And if they profit from their poor judgement, it’s safe to say that they’ll no longer need magic underwear to lose weight. The surgeon’s knife will be within their price range.