I get all sorts of weird and wonderful emails popping up in my inbox, but this week I got a couple that were so strange that I wanted to investigate a bit further. They were both concerning a feature on an on-line newspaper site about some claims a cream is making. Although it is placed in the women’s section, it is written by a staff reporter and not a beauty writer. Instead of the usual ‘I tried this cream and it is awful’ sort of comment, this time the observation was that the case-study featured was not all it seemed. In the case-study (a case-study being an independent person who can vouch or attest to a treatment working (or not) because they have tried it themselves), the user claims the cream is marvellous, really worked for her etc, but both emails I received said the case-study is not a random customer of the brand, but actually a PR for the brand. Her name is changed, where she lives is changed and oddly, so is her age. And, stranger still, in the un-moderated comment section of the piece on the website, there are two comments (anon) that say the same thing; that she is using a pseudonym and works for the brand. A chance meeting with a former employer of the case-study just sealed it really.
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