Scatter Brain says:
Yesterday, as I was thumbing through the spring issues of fashion magazines, I came across an advertisement that literally taunted me into writing this little observation of mine.
Unseemly lash boosters
The ad was for L’Oreal Concentrated Lash Boosting Serum. This product is obviously an over-the-counter rival for prescription brand Latisse. Not that it’s offering the same active ingredients, just similar results at what I would imagine is a much-reduced price. For one thing, you’d skip the trip to the doctor’s office or med-spa.
I have no idea if the product really works. I did a little research on-line and customer reviews were mixed from raves to “this product is complete crap.” However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I want to point out some VERY interesting wording in the results copy. This ad is an excellent example of how you should really pay attention to wording when reading, watching or listening to advertisements.
Here is what the copy said:
- 71% say It seems I have more lashes
- 75% say My lashes seem thicker
- 78% say I have less lash loss during makeup removal
- 81% say My lashes seem to be in better condition
Wow. Those are impressive numbers. So, what’s my problem? My problem is the word “seem.” I believe the technical term in the marketing world for a word like this is “a major butt-covering necessity.” “Seem” changes the whole meaning of the data. If the copy made a rock-solid statement like, “71% say I have more lashes,” I would be more inclined to believe the “fringe benefits” of this product. However, “seem” changes the whole dynamic of the data and makes everything much more tentative. Unfortunately, this was probably very intentional on the part of the writers.
L’Oreal is hoping that you’ll just absorb those impressive numbers and not realize that they never actually make a definitive statement. This way, if the product doesn’t really work for some people and these angry lashless folks are sending in poison pen letters, the company can easily “cover their butt” by saying, “We didn’t say it actually did, we just said it seems to.”
Still, I’m curious enough to continue to monitor customer reviews. If they skew towards positive, and the price is right, I’m just vain enough about my lashes to give this product a test-run to find out exactly what it “seems” to do for my lashes.
Scatter Brain is a real-life copywriter for hire. If you’re interested in contacting her with business opportunities, please write to “Scatter Brain” care of firstname.lastname@example.org//