Tom Hanks has had it with fake celebrity endorsements and took to Twitter to express his frustration. The actor is just one of the hundreds of celebrities that have had their likeness misappropriated for online ads. This time, an advertiser paired him with a CBD product.
Hanks, it seems, stumbled upon the ad and saw a familiar face. The advertisement came complete with classic infomercial lines seemingly attributed to the veteran actor. “After using [the product] for two weeks, I was already feeling like a new me,” the text underneath a photo of Hanks read. The ad also implied that Dr. Oz was responsible for the product’s medical benefits.
The ad doesn’t explicitly identify Hanks as the source of the quote, but it does include his name above the quote. It’d be hard not to think that the statement was actually from the actor. Hanks wasn’t having it.
“This is false and an intentional hoax,” Hanks posted on Twitter with an attached photo of the misleading ad. “I’ve never said this and would never make such an endorsement. Come on, man! Hanx!”
Endorsement Theft, From A To Oz
Tom Hanks isn’t the only celebrity upset with the ads. The concept has been referred to as “celebrity endorsement theft,” and it’s a growing problem in the advertising world. The companies and individuals creating the untrustworthy ads are nearly impossible to track, using fake names and shell companies to post the ads on other sites.
The ads, much like the one that earned Hanks’ ire, are typically for health or beauty-related products that use deceptive pricing to scam readers. The advertisements lead users to sites that promise them free or discounted “trials” of the product, but instead charge the victims large amounts of money for “subscriptions.”
Ellen DeGeneres and Sandra Bullock are two of the biggest names fighting the hordes of anonymous advertisers responsible for placing the ads. Last November, the two went public with a lawsuit against the unnamed parties for using their images in advertisements without their approval. The suit doesn’t explicitly name any defendants due to the anonymous nature of the advertisers.
Dr. Oz himself has a longstanding issue with endorsement theft. Oz even penned a column in the Wall Street Journal pushing social media networks to deal with the ever-growing scheme. As a brand, Oz sends out thousands of cease-and-desists to these sketchy advertisers, but as Tom Hanks pointed out, it hasn’t quite stopped the frauds. For now, we’ll stick to Twitter to see what the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood star actually endorses.