Post Shredded Wheat Cereal “MediFacts”
In this “Medifacts” commercial we are told why Post Shredded Wheat is a healthy breakfast cereal that doctors recommend. The actress that plays the Medifacts host is Lisa Kovack.
Transcript of the advertisement:
Many cereals say they are good for your heart. But did you know there’s a cereal that’s recommended by doctors? It’s Post Shredded Wheat. Recommended by 9 out of 10 doctors to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Post Shredded Wheat is made with only one ingredient, 100% whole grain wheat with no added sugar or salt. Try adding fruit for more health benefits and more taste in your bowl. It’s the ideal way to start your heart-healthy day. Try Post Shredded Wheat. This has Medifacts for Post Shredded Wheat.
Is this a TV commercial or a real medical announcement?
The format of this commercial is that of a non-commercial “medical factoid” type segment that are often shown on cable or satellite TV. These real medical factoid spots are non-commerical (don’t take money from anyone) and are informational or public-service type segments.
At the beginning of this commercial the following notice is displayed:
This is an advertisement for Post Shredded Wheat
This notice is shown in fairly large print for approximately 5 seconds as required by law, and in the last 2 seconds of the commercial we see “This message is sponsored by Post Shredded Wheat“. These disclaimers make it clear that this “Medifact” is a paid commercial endorsement, but any viewer not paying close attention, or that may have missed the quick disclaimers may be easily confused or deceived into thinking this was a medical endorsement.
Claims and phrases and what they really mean:
- What the commercial said: ..did you know there’s a cereal that’s recommended by doctors? … Recommended by 9 out of 10 doctors to help reduce the risk of heart disease
- What some people might think that means: Most doctors say that if I eat Shredded Wheat I wont get heart disease or have a heart attack
- What it really means: When this claim is made, the following very small and extremely difficult to read fine print is displayed:
*Based on the responses of 400 U.S. physicians surveyed by an independent third party research firm
This means that 360 doctors, when asked or surveyed would or did recommend a diet that included Post Shredded Wheat to reduce the risk of heart disease.
What does “reduce the risk of heart disease” mean?
It is important to understand that “reduce the risk” does not mean “will prevent”. There are many factors that contribute to the statistical risk that any one person will have heart disease, and diet is one of the many factors.
- What the commercial said: It’s the ideal way to start your heart-healthy day
- What some people might think that means: If I eat this, I will have a healthy day
- What it really means: The commercial said eating Shredded Wheat is a good way to start your heart healthy day. It does not say that eating Shredded Wheat will give you a heart-healthy day. What we are being told, is that eating Shredded Wheat can be a good way to start a day in which you eat nothing but healthy food, exercise, and do other ‘heart healthy’ things.
Some people might consider this commercial disguised as a “medical factoid” to be designed specifically to deceive people into thinking it is not a paid endorsement or “commercial”. Many people may also consider the wording used to be an attempt to deceive people into thinking that eating Shredded Wheat may have more of an impact on their health than it actually does.