Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Clear-Cast "Free TV" Ad Gives Slick a Bad Name

Free TV is once again on offer in the ad pages of my local newspaper. Last time the ad for Clear-Cast (or ClearCast) called its product "free TV" with "953 shows," which everyone who saw the ad interpreted to mean "953 channels."

Now it's trying to spin the recent Supreme Court decision against tech start-up Aereo as if it has something to do with this antenna that has existed for years.

Look at this headline, especially juxtaposed to the large photo of a wall of television screens:

Clearly the headline and photo are meant to get your attention by saying you can get a free television -- not free television broadcasts. (What, the Supreme Court ruled we all get free TVs? This looks like a news story! I must read it.)

If you read the ad, of course, you become a bit bewildered about where the free TV is and finally realize they're talking about free television shows through an antenna. Though in the caption below the large photo, they even dare to claim "It's like getting a new HDTV for free."

I love how the ad repeatedly uses the phrase "slick little device" or "slick little micro antenna" to describe the product. Fourteen times, in fact -- sometimes up to three times in a paragraph. (They also used the word "sleek" once. I wonder if that was a typo?) It's slick, all right, but mostly in the tradition of "slick talking." 

There's even a paragraph where they appear to mislead readers about what channels they'll get with the slick little antenna. "The device is engineered to access solely over-the-air signals that include all the top-rated national and all broadcast stations, like DISNEY (ABC), COMCAST (NBC), CBS, 21st Century Fox (FOX), PBS, CW, and about 90% of the most watched TV shows...." Notice how they play up DISNEY, COMCAST, and FOX (as in Fox News) -- all names associated with cable channels that will not be available using the Clear-Cast antenna.

I particularly love how they're so proud their product is engineered to receive over-the-air signals... you know. Like an antenna.

I also noticed that the price this time is $88 per unit. In the 2012 ad, they were only $47 (and were advertised in a New York paper for only $38). So that's an 87 or a 132 percent price increase, depending on which market you're in.

Of course, there are volume discounts if you get more than one, and if you have more than one TV, you'll need one for each. As the form at the bottom of the ad says, "You only need one Clear-Cast brand micro antenna device for each TV that you want Free channels on." Well, thank goodness you don't need two of them for each TV! Wow, you guys are tech geniuses.

Any way you look at it, it's a ripoff because you can buy an effective digital antenna for as little as $8, according to Consumer Reports.


Here's a list of my past posts on the scammers from Canton, Ohio, who want to sell you the slick little device. They also bring you Amish heaters, uncut $2 bills, fake health care, safes to put your over-priced coin collection in, swamp coolers pretending to be air conditioners, cheap but over-priced laptop computers, and weight-loss miracle "drugs."

They work through a parent company called Arthur Middleton Capitol Holdings.

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