There are old adages that state, "you get what you pay for," "nothing comes free," and "if it is too good to be true, it probably is." Advertising is a great form of art and everyone realizes that everything promised in an advertisement may slightly be exaggerated or even misleading. Have you ever compared those cheeseburger photos in the ads – that they spend hours primping on to make them look just perfect – to the cheeseburger that get placed on the tray just before they call your number? Not even close. At what point of exaggeration do you begin to question whether the company behind the misleading ads are shady or untrustworthy.
In the language of business it seems that much of the advertising focuses on how a certain program of language learning is so easy that it borders to being unbelievable or it crosses the line. Learning a new language without even trying seems to be the gist of many ads. The secret of the brain is revealed and this program or that program allows the language to just magically evolve from a few exercises with no memorization of pesky verbs and nouns and sentence structure, or any rules or exceptions to the rules, it will just... happen. If you send us your money we will send you the knowledge. In a few short hours, shazaam... you can begin to negotiate international trade agreements without the use of an interpreter.
The truth is that language learning does take time and effort. While shortcuts would be nice, the brain can only develop the skills by learning when to say what and how to make the sentence structure align, so that it resembles a language and not a series of pre-learned phrases that work only as lines in some pre-staged play. You are not learning lines for a movie; you are learning to speak and understand a dynamic language that works in the fluid situations which make up life.
So, next time you are listening to an ad that promises amazing things and kicking yourself for not having spent 10 hours to become fluent in French years ago think the product they are selling is snake-oil and it does not work. If you want to learn French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, etc., it will take time but it can be a great enjoyable journey that introduces you to great classmates and other individuals that are also on the road to self-improvement (rather than quick gratification).