DEAR ABBY: My mother, who lives in California, recently received a page torn from a newspaper with a handwritten note attached that said, "Jenny, try it. It works!" It was a full-page ad for a weight-loss product.
My husband's "Aunt Ethel," who lives in Ohio, got the same thing with her name handwritten on it. Neither of the notes had a signature.
Both my mother and Aunt Ethel thought it was an attack from an acquaintance or family member who didn't have the courage to sign a name. They were deeply hurt.
Luckily, when we heard that they both got the exact same ad, we figured out that it was a sleazy marketing scam.
Abby, please inform your readers about this advertising technique. I'm sure many other people have been hurt by it, and they should be made aware that the ads have not been sent by an insensitive "friend." It's terrible that a company would hurt someone to promote its product. This type of marketing should be exposed for what it is. -- CONCERNED IN CHESAPEAKE, VA.
DEAR CONCERNED: I'm familiar with that kind of advertising. One of my staff, who has a weight problem to contend with, has received the same ad on more than one occasion. However, because of a column I wrote on this same subject a few years ago, she recognized the marketing tactic for what it was and tossed it immediately. We suspect that some of the plus-sized clothing companies that market their clothing through catalogs sell their customer lists.
Readers, should you receive one of these ads, don't jump to the conclusion that someone is chastising you for your weight. And, if the product seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don't fall for false advertising.