Cut through the Hype. Or: Marketing language Vs Facts.

One thing that has constantly irritated me my entire adult life is misleading marketing language. The sneaky kind.

This is Part One of a two part series.

Part One: Incorrect Implications

The kind like I posted about on my essay about my Fitted Diapers. (One website’s claim that their turned and topstitched diapers didn’t have “ruffly edges that irritate baby’s skin.”) I mean, I turn and topstitch my dipes, too. But I’m not walking around making things up about ruffly edges irritating baby’s skin. Because they really don’t, unless your baby has skin that can’t stand to have any fabric edges touching it, and then you’ve got bigger problems on your hands. (I’m allowing for the possibility that some children do have skin that gets irritated by overcast edges.)

I try to avoid marketing hype. Things that are technically true (the diaper in question did not have ruffly edges to irritate baby’s skin), but are based on misleading the reader into believing things that are not true (that ruffly – overcast – edges would irritate baby’s skin).

Usually, these types of statements are negative statements using “no” or “never.” If I said, for example, that my diapers contain no arsenic to poison your baby. That is technically true. But what are the underlying implications? First, that arsenic is dangerous to babies. Does arsenic in fact kill babies? Yes. Then it’s a good thing these diapers don’t contain it, right?

What else does the statement imply? That OTHER diapers do in fact contain arsenic. Why else would I bring it up, right? So keep asking yourself questions. “Are they implying that other diapers contain arsenic? Maybe. Do other diapers contain arsenic? Likely not.”

Let’s do another one.

Our diapers close with hook-and-loop tape so there are no nasty snaps to pinch baby’s tender skin. (I’ve never seen this one anywhere, I made it up.) So let’s look at it. Technically, the statement is true. But what is the implication? That snaps pinch baby’s skin. Do snaps on diapers actually pinch baby’s skin? It would be difficult to see how this would be possible.

But! This is where it gets tricky. Not all “no” statements are misleading marketing hype. For example, if I say that Wrapsody Bali Baby Stretch wraps are a stretch hybrid that does not sag like most jersey wraps do. Let’s evaluate this one. What am I implying? That most other jersey wraps sag. Do most other jersey wraps sag? Generally speaking, yes, they do.

How are you, the shopper, to know this? It pays to do your homework, or to use common sense. In this case, learning about the different types of wraps, reading reviews, and talking to other parents would likely get you the information that completely stretchy wraps are super comfortable for newborns, but saggy with older babies.

So, when you’re out there shopping – and baby products are WAY WORSE than anything else for this – be wary of what is truth and what is marketing hype. Marketing hype is technically true, but implies things that are not true.

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About sarahtar

Our Family lives in central Iowa. We are Christians, conservatives, and crunchy granola heads. We love the outdoors, photography, and lindy hop. Turn ons are people who are polite, honesty, and really good root beer. Turn offs are mean people and people who make my life more difficult.

Posted on March 21, 2009, in Information. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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