A little while back, I wrote a blog post about a nonsense story in the Express promoting an arthritis cream, Joint Mud, made by a company called Greek Island Labs.
A number of things struck me as odd about the story:
- It quoted a doctor called Mark Binette, praising the efficiency of the product. Mark Binette also happens to work for Greek Island Labs, and was the creator of the cream – hardly the most independent guy you could quote!
- The article claimed there had been incredible advance sales of the product, and went into great detail about how much the product cost and where it could be bought.
- It also claimed that famous people had used the product – in this case, Premier League footballers.
- Best of all, a number of comments appeared praising this product as soon as it went online, and the accounts that created those comments were newly created that day.
Well, today The Express has another story about a Greek Island Labs product, Adonia Hair Remover, under the lovely balanced headline “Rush to buy Adonia Hair Reducer cream that cuts down on shaving“. Here’s a few quotes from the article – maybe you can see a connection:
- An independent American physician, Dr Mark Binette, said: “It’s safe, natural and works on even the most challenging cases.”
- It sold out overnight when it launched in America last month, and will be available in London, at Harrods, from next month. It costs £29.99 for 1oz and more than 10,000 people have already put their names on a waiting list.
- Its sales in America were boosted last month after American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth, 37, was spotted buying some.
- Picked this up when I was in the states last month. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks but it’s working well for me so far… • Posted by: JessMarwick at 12:45 AM
Digging into the Express archives, I also found this article from 2009 about another Greek Island Labs product, Adonia LegTone, which supposedly removes cellulite. Although this is at least marked as a review instead of a piece of news, it’s just as glowing as the other articles. Again, they quote Binette (at least this time, it’s clearer that he works for Greek Island Labs – they don’t have the nerve to claim he’s “independent”). Again they gush about how many preorders it’s had and how much it will cost. Again they quote scientists who point out that the claims it makes are rubbish… then ignore them. Again, there’s a very positive comment from someone who’s never commented before or since on the Express website, which the moderators haven’t removed despite it clearly being spam.
Three articles, all rather similar, all praising a Greek Island Labs product. Have GIL simply realised that the Express is a soft touch for churning press releases into news, or is there a deeper connection here?