Yeah, I have those moments all the time. I just had one this morning, when I was suddenly reminded of a book I bought when I was 12 years old. It was called “The Get Him System,” and I saved up my allowance and ordered it from the back of Seventeen magazine (or was it YM?). I remember it was a really big deal: I agonized over it for weeks, consulted my friends, discussed how I’d handle my sudden rise in popularity. I was convinced that owning this book would transform me overnight from an awkward orchestra dork into a flirty, adorable boy magnet. I blame 80s movies like “She’s Out of Control” and just about every Molly Ringwald movie ever made for perpetuating this myth of a born-again hottie. Let’s face it: this doesn’t happen in real life, at least not to you.
Anyway, I’ve been googling this book to see if anyone else fell for its promise of sudden boy-nanza, and it turns out that I wasn’t the only one! This writer goes into great depth about the contents of the book, and the ad that lured her in. Ah, yes, I remember this ad all too clearly.
This was before the time of Amazon.com and Smartphones, and I had to cut out that little order form and send it in by snail mail. (I don’t remember what I did about the payment — I didn’t have a checkbook as a 12-year-old, and my momma would NEVER have knowingly paid for this kind of nonsense.) I had no customer reviews to consult, so when the ad told me that it was a “New Bestseller,” I assumed it was. And when the ad said, “Boys Never Noticed Me… Until I Discovered These 5 Little Secrets!” I assumed it was a real quote from a real girl, just like me, whose life had transformed overnight thanks to “The Get Him System.”
The Internet has certainly helped remove a lot of the information asymmetry in these types of ads, but I have to say that the use of customer testimonials in marketing never seems to get old. And apparently I still haven’t stopped falling for them. (See also: Proactiv, Hip Hop Abs, Ped-Egg, Ab Roller, Disco Fever Vol. 1-3, etc., etc. I will not include links because I want to spare you from a similar fate.)