The Last Week Tonight budget must be going up. Not only did Sunday’s episode see an entertaining cameo from none other than George Clooney, but John Oliver’s team also splashed out on some sponsored TV spots for their brand new health product, Venus Veil.
The reason? To prove that you can get pretty much any old nonsense product onto local TV, minimal questions asked, if you’re willing to pay just a small amount amount of money for it to be featured (in this case the Last Week Tonight team paid $2,800, $2,650, and $1,750 for three TV spots to advertise “an absurd medical product based on technology that absolutely doesn’t exist”).
The stunt concluded a deep dive into “sponsored content” segments on U.S. TV, with Oliver citing several examples of questionable medical products that have been presented uncritically on local news stations.
“The truth is, none of this was nearly difficult enough to get onto TV, and it wasn’t even that expensive,” Oliver concludes.
“It was all shockingly affordable and sadly, on some stations, didn’t even look that out of place — and that is not good.”