Twice this week I have had a run in with the dreaded small print. The small print as you already probably know is the crafty little bit of information that explains a products true limitations. Basically the product can make any claim they like (with elements of truth to it of course) but with anything and everything there are restrictions. These are stated in the teeny weeny small print that let's face it not a lot of people read till they fork out a whole heap of money and get it home.
Now I'm not saying what manufacturers are doing is completely wrong, it's business I get that. I am actually in awe of some of the tricks used in marketing these days. It's clever, very clever. Even though as a consumer I should be annoyed by a product claiming something it may not be able to deliver I actually have to give a round of applause to the marketing people who thought up this stuff. Surely as it's our money we are parting with we should be a bit more careful not to fall for unbelievable patter and sweeping claims...right?
Well I understand those of you that are (understandably) annoyed by it and I'm not saying I love to be ripped off I just think that we shouldn't be so naive about it all. Nothing is a 'miracle cure' yet so many products these days claim to be. Nothing will truly make you look ten years younger or make you look like your favourite celebrity, we know this and yet that ray of hope as you set off to the drugstore to pick up the latest hyped product still exists. We still want to believe something will cure all of our troubles simply by handing over x amount of money at the counter.
The whole idea of this article came from two products I bought this week....
Colgate Max White One Active Toothpaste.
Everyone wants white teeth right? Yes! So I am sure I am not the only one who saw the advert, you know the one. The pretty blonde girl in her bathroom brushing her perfect teeth as she changes outfits in quick succession It's a pretty good advert as far as toothpaste adverts go and yes I went out and bought a tube. So I got it home (without reading the small print obviously!) and looked at the packaging in the comfort of my own bathroom as everyone does. On the back of the tube it says directions for use 'Brush for 2 minutes, 3 times daily'. Woah. Three times? Not even my dentist tells me to brush my teeth that many times a day. I'm a 'brush your teeth in the morning, mouthwash, sugar free chewing gum, brush teeth before bed, mouthwash' kinda girl. I have never brushed my teeth 3 times in one day before, potentially only when I'm feeling poorly and you get a bit yucky! So it seems to me that if I did indeed brush my teeth that many times a day (which is a whole 7 times a week, 28 times a month extra brushing time) I am going to inevitably have whiter teeth....as I am brushing them more! So it's claim to make your teeth one shade whiter in one week is technically true...but only because of the extra brushing time! I could probably get the same results with a cheaper whitening toothpaste or in fact any toothpaste! Clever Colgate.
TRESemme Platinum Strength Shampoo.
This I bought as it was on offer in boots, I've seen it mentioned around the blogosphere and thought I'd give it a go. I like TRESemme and have no issues with their products, I've used this particular shampoo a few times now and I do indeed like what it did to my hair. Good work. However on reading the small print I actually found it hilarious. This product claims to repair up to 2 years of damage to your hair in 5 uses, great claim and I'm sure it made it fly from the shelves! The small print reads as follows however 'In 5 uses when using shampoo & conditioner as a system vs non-conditioning shampoo'. So basically TRESemme you are telling me this shampoo will only do what it says in comparison to 5 days where I don't condition my hair....at all! My hair would be a mass of fly-aways and unimaginable frizz without conditioner so therefore clearly my hair would see a vast improvement with the involvement of your conditioner!
I'm not at all resentful of this product I genuinely like it and I will continue to buy this and other products from the range, I just found it quite funny how they have managed to twist the shampoos capability and given the shampoo and conditioner system a USP that is quite frankly invented from nothing. What we have here is your bog standard shampoo. It's still a great shampoo just maybe not quite as original as they claim. Bravo marketing dudes (and dudettes).
Pretty much every product we buy has this small print attached, hey even in the blogosphere you will see an asterix to signify a 'gifted product' (the small print of the blogging world) floating around and there is nothing wrong with this. It's all under marketing, it's how you promote yourself and/or sell your product. It's clever and it makes your brand stand out from the millions of others that are similar to your own. There is nothing wrong with promotion as long as your product actually does what it says on the tin and both these products have stayed true to their claims. Plus I would actually recommend brushing your teeth 3 times a day now. Behind the times, that's me.
Does the small print bug you? Have you ever found a product that doesn't do what it claims even though you follow the instructions down to the last letter? Name and shame them here if so!