Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thinking about claims...

I touched on this lightly in a short rant at the bottom of the previous post, but I thought I needed to writer further on this topic.

I'm not a fan of what I call "blah blo" talk. You know, when your boss says some important issue is "under review" or takes your concern "under advisement". When people use words like "going forward" or "at the end of the day" instead of using real words like tomorrow, next week, or never. I really hate using nouns as verbs - impacting your business - and I despite the use of passive verbs as active ones - like "grow your business" despite the fact that you would nurture or encourage something to grow and you can't make something grow! Anyway...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the claims that are made about products. You can use words like "appears" or "seems" without any repercussions. You can also use phrases like "women report" or "subjects stated" without any problems.

A few examples of what they say, and what I hear...

In field tests, skin appeared younger. 
I was carded at the liquor store for the first time in years!

Women report skin being more attractive. 
The dog wouldn't stop licking my arm - she loves cupcakes, too!

Hair is more manageable. 
I didn't get it caught in any doors or laptop computers today!

And I hate the asterisk with the small print in the left hand corner of the screen (although they've been putting it in the right hand corner to make it harder for me to read it in the two seconds it's on the screen)! My current favourite is a skin care product from L'Oreal (I can't remember which one, but it's an anti-aging serum of some sort) where the word "fantasy" shows up at the bottom of the screen when they air brush the model all to heck. At least they're being honest, eh?

You can also compare the use of the product to the non-use of the product. For instance, "this conditioner is great" compared to what? Compared to not using conditioner at all, according to Pantene! Well, the worst conditioner is better than no conditioner at all, so what does that mean? It means that Pantene sells conditioners! 

Even the phrases "dermatologist recommended" or "clinical trials" are irrelevant because I'm sure you can find a dermatologist to recommend anything - this iPod touch is dermatologist recommended because it's awesome! - and clinical trials only mean they did some kind of testing. (I'm so tempted to get my medical degree so my new cupcake pot holders can be "doctor recommended". I'd recommend everything to everyone! This pillowcase, this shower curtain, and this toaster oven are all doctor recommended!) 

And don't get me started on the term "hypoallergenic". This word means "low allergic potential" not "no allergic potential", but they have us convinced that being hypoallergenic means anyone can use it. There are so many allergies we don't even know about and so many skin types and possible reactions that the term loses meaning. It generally means it's unlikely to cause problems in most people, but there isn't a standard definition for what hypoallergenic means! 

And why the picture of my dog in a raincoat at the top of this post? Because 100% of dressmakers, family counsellors, social workers, psychology students, and master armourers for films recommend looking at a picture of a cute dog at least once a day. It won't necessarily do anything for your health, but it'll make you smile! 


Anonymous said...



Amanda Renea said...

I just wanted to say that I love this post! It's great!

Matt said...

I was just thinking about this topic the other day. I am constantly amazed at the ridiculous, implausible, and blatantly false claims cosmetic companies make about their products in an attempt to play on the insecurities of their consumers.

Also, while large cosmetic manufactures usually have deep pockets to dig themselves out of most legal trouble. Anyone wanting to sell their homemade cosmetic formulations should familiarize themselves with their governments regulatory agency requirements before making claims about their product.

FDA:Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (Or Is It Soap?)

Health Canada

Anonymous said...

This was too funny, Susan! I have to agree with you 100%.


Tara said...

There is even a mascara called "No Implant" mascara or something like that, where on the bottom of the screen it states that the model is wearing lash implants. Sheesh!