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The Hizzle of T-Fizzle » Blog Archive » I’m not sure if this qualifies as false advertising…

I’m not sure if this qualifies as false advertising…   


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But it sure seems crappy.
I promise I’ll provide a curling update before the end of the season (I am still transcribing stats from my now-infamous notepad), but I’ve just got to get this off my chest first.

You may have seen this commercial. I don’t watch too many commercials thanks to DVR technology, but I managed to spot this one and it REALLY jumped out at me.

A pickup truck is pulling a trailer and stops on some sort of grassy knoll. People get out and unload something which they inflate into what appears to be some sort of large rubber/plastic sphere…almost like a giant beach ball. The sphere actually has another sphere inside it. From what we see in the commercial, you throw in some water (presumably for lubrication), put one or two or maybe even three people in the middle sphere through a built-in tube, push them down the hill and they enjoy the ride. Because the riders don’t stick to the surface of the inner sphere, they remain fairly stationary while the sphere rolls around them. It really looks like a heck of a lot of fun. You can see a logo in one of the shots. It says “Zorb.”

I figure they would probably be expensive to buy, but I thought I would look it up anyway and here’s what I found: The people that invented Zorb do not sell them! They have some pretty sensible reasons for doing so, including: They want to ensure that they are always used safely (nothing kills a product quite like a product with a reputation for killing people), the spheres are handmade and expensive to build and maintain (of course limiting your market doesn’t contribute to lower production costs), not many people have access to the appropriate hill which they specifiy as something like 300m of gentle slope and another 200m at the bottom for a landing strip, etc. Instead they are relying on franchising Zorb operators who maintain the spheres and hills and safety procedures. This is not inherently bad. Although it seems unfortunate that such a business model will basically relegate Zorb operators to the class of business that operate bungee cranes, laser tag games and other “amusements” at high prices in and around tourist centers, it’s certainly their choice to make. Currently there is only one operator in the US and a single ride (how long can a quarter-mile possibly last?) sets you back over $30.

Anyway, that’s not my complaint. Here is my complaint:
The commercial appears to depict PRIVATE Zorb owners. It looks like a bunch of people who happen to own a few of these and decide to go rolling down a hill on a warm spring day. Like fair-weather sledding - grab your sled, head to the hill, go have fun. If you can’t actually buy a Zorb it seems like the commercial should not depict what appears to be private ownership of a Zorb. It’s not really false advertising seeing as how they aren’t specifically advertising the Zorb, but it’s pretty annoying to see this and learn that you can’t actually own one (unless you want a knockoff).

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