When was the last time you read the label on something you use everyday and wondered “What???”
From the not-quite-what-it-seems category, let’s have a little fun with some BIG brand names and take a look at a few products whose descriptions could use some improvement.
Disclaimer: If you’re wondering why these examples are mostly women’s products, my wife and two adult daughters provide lots of material to work from!
The Invisible Solid
This Suave anti-perspirant deodorant describes itself as an “invisible solid”. Really??? How can something solid be invisible? I’ll concede that the material inside the plastic container is, in fact, a solid (see Wikipedia’s definition), but this solid is not invisible! Another look at Wikipedia shows that “Invisibility is the state of an object that cannot be seen.”, which clearly this deodorant is not.
What to do?
While this brief lesson in Physics was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, let’s ask Suave to dispense with the marketing hyperbole and just call it an “opaque solid”, shall we?
When MAXIMUM doesn’t really mean Maximum
There are a couple things about the product descriptions that are confusing.
Apparently MAXIMUM HOLD doesn’t mean “maximum” anymore; EXTREME HOLD is the new “maximum”. However, on Dictionary.com, maximum is defined as: 1) the greatest quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, etc. 2) the highest amount, value, or degree attained or recorded. And a look at extreme yields a similar meaning.
Secondly, it’s not immediately evident that the MAXIMUM HOLD scale of one to four dots applies to the type of 24 HR [EXTREME / MAXIMUM] HOLD mentioned above. It actually appears that the four dots on each hair spray container represent MAXIMUM HOLD, which leaves the buyer wondering why MAXIMUM really isn’t (click on the picture for a closer look).
Key take-away: 24 HR MAXIMUM HOLD should be just that: the maximum hold possible in a 24 hour time frame. P&G really should limit its use of superlatives in describing products. It may be standard consumer marketing practice nowadays, but it doesn’t always work and will sometime confuse the buyer.
Apparently “Complete”, isn’t!
I like Crest toothpaste; it makes your mouth feel fresh and clean after a good brushing. What I don’t like is the tacked-on names that well-known and respected brands add to their products! This is typically called a brand extension or brand stretching. Crest Complete Plus is one such example. Let’s break it down to see the differences:
Crest is the parent brand.
Crest Complete is still the brand, but it’s also an extension by definition, since it’s a separate product than Crest original.
Crest Complete Plus is technically an extension of an extension, which to me makes it a brand s-t-r-e-t-ch!
Here’s my issue with the way it’s named:
- If Crest Complete implies that it’s the whole package with nothing more that can be added to make it better, why tack on the preposition “plus”?
- If the “plus” indicates that it does more than Crest Complete, then how can it be called “complete” in the first place?
- Will the next advancement in toothpaste give us a new and improved Crest Complete Plus Extra, or will P&G take a more sensible approach and simply launch a relevant brand with a better name?
Suave and P&G have spent millions in researching consumer buying habits as well as in aided and unaided brand recall tests, so I’m sure that my brief analysis is of insignificance to them. Be that as it may, let’s be a little more creative in our product naming. After all, hasn’t the English language been butchered enough already? Jyeah!!!
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