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Thread: Marketing Spin

  1. #1
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    Marketing Spin

    I was originally going to call this thread "Marketing Weasel Words," but maybe that is too strong a term.

    These are the statements that make a company's product sound better than it really is, or at least portray it in the best possible light.

    I'll start with two examples:

    1) An ongoing TV commercial for a weight-loss product says "You can lose up to ten pounds in two weeks."
    I'd prefer they set a lower limit, rather than an upper one.

    2) SpaceX doesn't have "used" boosters, they have "flight proven" ones.
    I actually, kind of like this one. It isn't a flaw, it's a feature!

    Anyone care to post other examples?
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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    I've noticed a subtle change in one drug commercial lately. A certain drug that helps memory (the one derived from jellyfish) has dropped the claim that their drug "improves memory" to it's the "most widely sold" memory enhancing drug. This change occurred after the FDA said the memory improvement claim was bogus. Anything to make a buck with a twisting of words. It seemed like a good use of jellyfish.

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    There's an outfit doing a lot of advertising that they'll give you complete dental implants in one day. The only way they can do that is if you've already had your teeth removed and have unusually healthy jaws and gums. If they have to pull a tooth it's a minimum of several months healing first.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    I just saw a TV commercial for some general-purpose pain-relief device that you strap to your knee.

    They point out that it has been "cleared" by the FDA. I assume that just means it won't injure you.


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    Just last night I was fuming at one of the rent to buy outfits. Very loudly they talk about the huge TV you can get for just $5 a week, and now with $400 gift card - perfect for Xmas.

    They never make it clear just how many weeks you'd be paying the $5.

    Long time ago showed my son how much a Sony PSP would really cost through these people. Valuable lesson.
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

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    I was outside the US pretty all the time between '69 and '89. When I came back and saw what they were trying to get away with then I refused to buy a TV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    I've noticed a subtle change in one drug commercial lately. A certain drug that helps memory (the one derived from jellyfish) has dropped the claim that their drug "improves memory" to it's the "most widely sold" memory enhancing drug. This change occurred after the FDA said the memory improvement claim was bogus. Anything to make a buck with a twisting of words. It seemed like a good use of jellyfish.
    I'm sure the jellyfish would disagree...

    Extravoice, weasel words aren't all bad.

    For instance, and I'm sure the Chief has seen this, various canned meat products sold in the U.S. have the wonderfully neutral phrase, "Meat by-products". Hey, I was raised on meat by-products!

    But then the Navy sources the identical product from suppliers that also export said product to foreign countries with different labelling laws. They had to spell out "meat by-product"

    Want to know the difference between Vienna sausages and "potted meat food product"? The latter being one of my favorite sandwich spreads.

    Betcha don't.

    Stop reading...

    I warned you.

    Vienna sausage contain beef lips, uteruses and udders. Potted meat food product achieves its different flavor from the use of vaginas and uteruses, but no lips.

    We used to wonder what actually constitutes dog food.

    I'm sure if all that was on the local labeling it would negatively impact sales.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

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    76 of 98 people asked agreed with this.
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    I always like the old chestnut "nothing works better"
    and anti wrinkle creams now "improve the appearance of wrinkles" (i.e. they are fillers?)
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I always like the old chestnut "nothing works better"
    Along those lines, there was an old ad that said "We make healthcare work."



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    Oh I forgot about this one, it's still true today.
    Around 16 years ago I enrolled in a job related microscopy course on "white powders" at the McCrone Inst in Chicago. The instructor picked up some typical store shelf items for us to identify using PLM, one item of which was one of those green cans of sprinkle on parmesan cheese (I'm not naming names here). As soon as the instructor put the sample under the projection scope he immediately shouted "Where's the Cheese!?" We all spotted the cellulose fibers and corn starch in the sample which are added as flowing agents but few cheesy blobs. On the front of the can's label it stated in big bold letters "100% Grated Parmesan Cheese". Yes, the cheese is there and what's there is 100% "Grated" alright. But you have to check the ingredient label on the rear of the can to see the extra additives.

    The next day the instructor brought in 5 different sources of grated parmesan cheese, even one from his local pizzeria. Each one had varying amount of fillers with more or less cheese. His pizzeria had the best of the batch. So when a label lists a 100% followed by adjective before the noun, buyer beware.

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    "Pre-owned" cars
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    By-catch, commercial fishing's term for collateral damage.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    "...than the leading brand!" It's the leading brand because people buy it. They don't bother with #2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    By-catch, commercial fishing's term for collateral damage.
    And "fish meal" is born.

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    Pickled Onions advertising no preservatives.


    Apart from the Vinegar they mean?
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    One of the things that bothers me lately are the cable TV and cell phone companies (at least in the US) that tout "No contracts" as a completely great thing. Except, at best it is a double-edged sword, because, by not having a contract with you, they aren't obligated to guarantee the rate they are charging you (and can raise the cost whenever they like).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    I was outside the US pretty all the time between '69 and '89. When I came back and saw what they were trying to get away with then I refused to buy a TV.
    Outsanding !

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    'Farm Fresh !'

    Totally meaningless.

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    When I was in the UK on a working holiday in 1976 I did some casual work in an instant coffee packing factory. It put about 12 brands of coffee into jars. The difference between each brand with its "own special taste" - was the label.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    When I was in the UK on a working holiday in 1976 I did some casual work in an instant coffee packing factory. It put about 12 brands of coffee into jars. The difference between each brand with its "own special taste" - was the label.
    Not unusual. I worked at a Union Carbide plant that bottled anti-freeze. You could watch the long line of bottles moving down the conveyor to be filled. There were usually at least three different brands there.

    And, Mrs Baird makes truly excellent white bread. Which can be packaged in several different brand wrappers.
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    same in milk bottling factories; Sainsbury's Waitrose, Tesco....all the same milk, unsurprisingly, I suppose.

    as with 'farm fresh', 'barn fresh'...meaningless...I think only some claims like 'free rage' have legal meaning, in the UK, anyway.
    Formerly Frog march..............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    1) An ongoing TV commercial for a weight-loss product says "You can lose up to ten pounds in two weeks."
    I'd prefer they set a lower limit, rather than an upper one.
    The lower limit would be zero. Less, in fact, since you could still actually gain weight while using any weight-loss product.
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    I think 2lbs a week is the recommended upper amount for weight loss....
    Last edited by Mudskipper; 2017-Oct-30 at 02:29 PM.
    Formerly Frog march..............

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    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    Pickled Onions advertising no preservatives.


    Apart from the Vinegar they mean?
    'They did the same thing with jelly a few years ago. The only preservative in jelly is the sugar.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    Quote Originally Posted by John Mendenhall View Post
    'Farm Fresh !'

    Totally meaningless.
    This is especially hilarious when they apply it to food that's supposed to be aged. "Farm fresh" is not even a vaguely positive attribute for, say, balsamic vinegar, cheddar cheese, or prosciutto.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Anyone care to post other examples?
    My old-time favorite: a leading brand of popcorn whose boxes suddenly sported the prominent label "whole grain"

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    "The Franklin Mint"? In the US "Mints" imply the government production of currency. But you have to read the fine print on this one. They don't actually do any minting.

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    "Prices reduced up to 60% or more."
    Depending on whom you ask, everything is relative.

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    I used to service the PCs on acontract at the KP Foods plant on Teesside (Home of the Wheat Crunchie as they used to boast)
    They produce all kinds of potato and wheat based snacks.
    As well as their own brands they fill packets for all the supermarkets on the same line.
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