Should we close questions challenging specific ads? covers some of this but I'd like more input ( hypotheticals would be most helpful ).

For example...

Does eating three (product name) a day really prolong life ?

In this ad (1: link to ad) (2: company name and page link) claims eating three of their (3: product name and link) a day will prolong your life by forty-two years. Is there any evidence this is true ?

  1. Links to ads are an obvious no-no. There are always exceptions, but for ad links I think the justification would need to be clad in beryllium.
  2. Should the company page be linked directly or would a third-party link be preferred ( assuming good-faith on the neutrality/reliability of the third-party link) ? Maybe a Wikipedia entry ?
  3. Would this be the same as (1) with a slightly lower standard of justification ?

Other considerations on the topic in general ?

1 Answer 1


My feeling is that these questions are, if nothing else, too localized unless the claim in question is part of a large, well-known marketing campaign... In which case, finding references to it shouldn't be difficult.

If you really have to resort to linking to the company's website to prove that they made such a claim, you're screwed anyway - what happens when they update their site and the claim is suddenly nowhere to be found?

So if you just gotta ask, "Do things really go better with Coke?" you'll have a million references in the first Google search affirming that this claim was actually made.

If you feel the need need to get verification that Spammer Bob's All N47Ur4L Herbal V14GR4 really does cure cancer like that email said... You can post the claim itself and describe what the product is without linking to it or including the full ad copy.

Other considerations on the topic in general ?

Both the hypothetical examples I've given, and the actual example you reference, border on ridiculous. I wouldn't give any of them the benefit of the doubt, even without links, unless there was also indication that someone, somewhere, actually believed this. A report about folks that pour Coke on their breakfast cereal, or eschew chemo in favor of Bob's remedy, or religiously spread cream on their wrinkled, weathered faces. I mean... They're ads - all else being equal, you really shouldn't believe them for that reason alone.

Also, Drink Coke.

  • And eat bacon!!!
    – Sklivvz
    Mar 26, 2011 at 1:38
  • @Sklivvz No man. You know I don't dig on swine.
    – Rusty
    Mar 26, 2011 at 23:30

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