Why? Something about lying to make a buck. And, in this case, selling something harmful. Call me a pollyanna, but these don't sit well with me.
How Zicam is medically harmful. Please read this excellent post by Steven Novella, MD, a leader in science-based medicine. Just the opening paragraph is harrowing: "On June 16th the FDA issued a warning advising consumers not to use Zicam Nasal Gel or Nasal Swabs because of reports that it can damage the sense of smell, a condition called anosmia. This event highlights some problems with current regulations of health products."
Now, back to lying for Zicam. Consider this blurb, taken verbatim from the Zicam website: "Zicam Cold Remedy is an over-the-counter homeopathic medicine that actually reduces the duration and severity of the common cold when taken at the first sign of cold symptoms."
How does this mislead thee? Let me count the ways. Astute readers will surely point out more.
1. Zicam is not a "remedy," in that it cures nothing.
2. Homeopathic preparations are "medicines" only in the loosest sense. No scientifically valid test has ever shown homeopathy to have any effect. (Unless you count the placebo effect. But a placebo effect does not constitute healing or recovery. It simply indicates that the patient imagines lessened symptoms.)
3. Zicam does not reduce the duration of a cold. No remedy on earth has been shown to do that.
4. "When taken at the first sign of cold symptoms" is a weasel. It provides a convenient out for Zicam when it fails to perform, which is every time. ("You must have started too late. Your fault, not Zicam's.")
Four big lies from just one FAQ. If you visit the site, you'll find oodles more. Especially odious are the testimonials from people who mistakenly (and, let's hope, innocently) believe that Zicam worked for them. As a direct marketer, I know that testimonials convince. But testimonials are not evidence. Moreover, those who share them can be and often are mistaken.
I am aware that the Zicam site features "studies." There are studies, and there are studies. I can do a study that shows that hiring the RESPONSE Agency reduces your risk of dying from lung cancer.
If you would like to know what does help you beat a cold, the answer is: time. People who use Zicam and other preparations recover neither faster nor more slowly than those who use nothing at all. Save your money.
Let's be honest. Some agencies know darn well when they're spinning falsehoods. But many don't. Few agency people are scientists, making it easy for us to be duped by client-paid PhDs. I regret to say that I have thrice fallen into that trap myself. Twice I learned about the misrepresentations only after the account relationship had ended. The one time I that learned about it in-process, I resigned the business.
Either way, agencies, show some balls. Turn down prospective products that don't work, and resign any that you may have already taken on. As one who doesn't believe in karma, I won't promise you rewards from the Universe. But, tomorrow morning, you might have a little more respect for the person staring back at you from the bathroom mirror.