Saturday, September 6, 2008
"Smiling Bob" Waves Goodbye To NASCAR Fans
Few topics have generated as much email as the interesting ads featuring "Smiling Bob" and his permanently smiling wife.
Many NASCAR fans felt that Bob and his rather thinly disguised pitch for an "performance enhancer" called Enzyte should not have been seen in NASCAR TV programs oriented toward the family.
While medical drugs like Viagra and Levitra focus their advertising on tasteful and sometimes humorous approaches to promoting their product, Enzyte was different.
The advertising never crossed any line that involved nudity or profanity, but the entire character of "Smiling Bob" was beyond tasteless for many. The themed commercials pitched Bob as a dolt who simply made his way through life blissfully unaware that his wife liked to tell her friends all about Bob's "new found confidence."
Apparently, many men went directly to the phone and picked-up a free supply of Enzyte after seeing Bob and his wife smiling a lot. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the Enzyte product. It was all a scam.
A credit card number was required to pay the shipping fee for the free samples. The company then began to charge that credit card for monthly deliveries of the herbal mixture. When you got the free sample, you had automatically enrolled in the monthly plan.
Complaints were referred to a non-existent department within the company and customers who said the product did not work were asked to go to their doctor and get a note to verify the "problem." Needless to say, eventually some folks were going to be heading for jail.
Click here for the story from the AP about the 42 year-old president of the company that sold Enzyte going to federal prison for 25 years. Conspiracy, fraud and money laundering were going-on at the company constantly even while the ineffective but harmless mix of herbal suppliments continued to be shipped nationwide.
It was several years ago that complaints first began to surface about the male enhancement product. Click here for a USA Today story about the real ingredients of Enzyte. "It makes no sense medically," said one well-known Urologist.
All the same, many TV networks were happy to take the cash from this company despite the on-going federal investigation and publicity. Perhaps, the final result of this scam will be a new set of standards for national TV advertising of herbal solutions that are not federally tested and have no actual medical value. The TV networks were the conduit that made this corruption possible.
All of this took place in the Cincinnati area, and you can click here for the final article where the details of just how corrupt and devious the company practices actually were to customers. The judge in the case had trouble with the sentence because no one could really calculate just how many hundreds of millions of dollars this scheme had generated.
So, "Smiling Bob" will not be returning to the airwaves and will slowly fade to become just another fascinating element of this culture and a Wiki page on the Internet forever.
The remaining ED products advertised in NASCAR are prescribed medical drugs promoted by well-known pharmaceutical companies and prescribed by a physician. It certainly was an interesting run, but so long "Smiling Bob."
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