With the help of a hired actress who sold the product on several shows, Oliver and the crew at “Last Week Tonight” were able to advertise Venus Veil in a legitimate news program on KVUE Austin, ABC4 Utah and Mile High Living, based in Denver. .
Oliver’s Venus Veil is literally just a cover – but he claims it “works confidentially to solve erectile problems and improve vaginal lubrication” using “magnetogenetics.”
“Right now, it’s far too easy to make a ridiculous product that makes silly claims and broadcast it on local television. And the reason I know that is because we did it, ”said Oliver. “We started a company called Venus Inventions and created something called Venus Veil, an absurd medical product based on technology that absolutely doesn’t exist.
Snippets of the “Last Week Tonight” actress selling the Venus Veil can be found on their new website, Venusinventions.com, which features this amazing graphic, which is probably meant to illustrate the cover’s purported sexual healing properties. .
John Oliver went on to point out that many news stations “swap numbers between their newsroom and their sponsored content shows,” as does Surae Chinn of ABC4 Utah, who serves as the station’s chief medical correspondent and anchor. also many of its sponsored content. Chinn was actually one of the mainstays of a sponsored content segment for Venus Veil and Oliver noted that she didn’t ask as many questions about the supposed sexual benefits of the cover as one might expect. expect a chief medical correspondent.
“I’d love to tell you that it was hard to keep going, but it really wasn’t,” Oliver said, noting that the HBO show paid less than $ 7,200 to appear on all three shows.
Oliver said he took inspiration from PR firm Presley Media’s brand ambassador and “lifestyle expert” Michelle Yarn, who sells all kinds of “terrifying products” (as he puts it ) on local TV, including fried Doritos nachos and a Velveeta Fondue Fountain.
If you don’t really know what sponsored content is, don’t worry – you aren’t meant to be. The whole point of sponsored content is that it is a form of media advertising that viewers or readers do not immediately recognize as an advertisement. Essentially, it’s when advertisers pay for news programs to integrate their product into the rest of their coverage as seamlessly as possible.
John Oliver argued on his Sunday night show that blurring the line between news and advertisements with sponsored content damages the credibility of a news program. He also argued that it also allowed any old product to buy access to loyalty and viewer trust at generally absurdly low prices, which could devalue any other truly legitimate information that might be shown on the channel. of information.