Too good to be true

Yasmine Saleh
3 Min Read

Fake products abound in the Egyptian market

Buy the “miracle honey and your power will double. Buy “the power pills and you will acquire the sexual prowess of a 20-year-old. If you are tired, don’t think about sleeping or relaxing, chew the “super gum and you will stay up all night.

These phrases and many similar ones have featured in numerous ads of unknown products that have been broadcast on Egyptian satellite channels over the past few years.

These products are from unknown companies so no one can really tell whether they are fake or not. But you can’t help being suspicious considering how cheap they are relative to the great miracles they claim to achieve.

Psychologist Jailan Mohamed Riyad, told The Daily Star Egypt that psychologically people tend to believe that certain substances will make them better and by convincing themselves of that, they really feel that they improve after using these products.

So it is the people s perception, not the actual effect of the products that they buy that does it, Riyad added.

Over a month ago, these strange and vague ads were the subject of Al Beit Betak talk show, which broadcasts daily on local channel 2. The hosts aimed to alert the public to the fact that these products might not be original and do not actually do what they claim they will.

Part of the episode featured a hilarious spoof of those ads, but as the show highlighted, many people who watched the show believed the spoof was true ad. People even called the show the next day to ask for the products.

The anchors of the show were shocked by the reaction and kept repeating that the phony ads were made to prove a point about the subject being debated.

The hosts interpreted the audience s belief in the products to mean that either Egyptians really trust national TV, or they are dying to become younger, sexier and more powerful, or they are naïve.

The bottom line was that they are an easy target.

The presence of fake products is not just exclusive to ads for TV shopping. Alhussein El-Shennawy, certified nutrition and healthy lifestyle manager of El-Shennawy Pharmacy told The Daily Star Egypt that he has discovered a “fake and cheap imitation of a very famous fat burner sold in several large chain pharmacies in Egypt.

The name of the fat burner is Lipo-6 and it is only produced with 120 liquid capsules per box. El-Shennawy indicated though that the cheap imitation contains only 60 capsules.

“No one can really know what the pills found in the fake version of the product are made of, El-Shennawy added.

The Ministry of Health was not available for comment.

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