"___ will grow 500 times its orginial size!" But they don't.

One of the timeless toys for kids is an animal made of polymers that you soak in water, and it’s amazingly supposed to grow to be 500 times its size. Like this one. And this one even makes the 500 times larger claim. These things never get that big. I doubt they even get to be 50 times as big as they started out. My question is why not?

When I was small I decided that the reason they didn’t get that big is because we never put them in a container that allowed them to grow that big. So when I was 10 and we got a pool, I was excited to finally have a large amount of water to throw the thing in. Unfortunately I made the mistake of running the idea by my mother first, and she vetoed my trying it. Would it actually have gotten bigger in a pool, or was it poor kid-logic combined with lying advertisements?

A friend of mine’s daughter did that. She put an alligator-looking one in her wading pool. It got about as big as she was (girl was about 4 or 5 IIRC).

The claim in the second ad is quite specifically by weight which I would not find hard to believe. The little dry alligator weighs a few grams at most and the fully saturated one looks like it could be holding well over a liter of water.

True, but the weight claim is only 150-300 times, yet it also says 500 times its size earlier in the ad. The discrepancy implies they’re making a second claim about its properties, rather than contradicting themselves.

I have no idea, but I want to thank you for that link to the Steve Spangler site. I’ve bookmarked it for further perusal - it makes me want to homeschool my kid! :smiley:

Are there provisions in US advertising laws for what is known in the Commonwealth as “Puffery”- ie, outlandish claims that no reasonable person would take completely seriously that are clearly just a form of hype?

For example, an ad for the Widgetron 2000 might state “The Widgetron 2000 is the most incredible advance in the field of Widgetry to date!”, or perhaps “The Widgetron 2000 is the best Widgetron in the known universe”. These claims are, of course, silly, and therefore puffery.

I would have thought that small foam creatures growing 500 times their size when immersed in water would fall into a similar category, to be honest.

On a related topic, one of my favourite examples of “Small Print” in an ad comes from Monty Python’s Brand New Bok, which has a fake ad for “Llap Goch”, a Welsh Martial Art. (Don’t laugh, we haven’t gotten to the funny part yet…)

The ad claims that the secrets of Llap Goch will allow the practitioner to sleep with “Any Number of Women*”.

*“Bear in mind that ‘Any Number’ also clearly includes the number Zero”. :smiley:

It’s just a shame I so rarely get a chance to use that clause with customers at work. :wink:

Does the fine print say 500x the volume? That would only be a linear increase of about 8x

"Why WELSH Art?
“Because studies have shown that for the average Welshman, the best chance of making a living comes from the use of the most efficient techniques of armed robbery.”

:smiley: I LOL’d.

That’s how I’ve always understood it. It’s quite reasonable to say that if you could put 500 of the shrunken ones into the space occupied by one of the expanded ones, that it has grown 500 times its size. It’s not necessary to specify volume, as the word “size” does not exclusively mean length, or any linear dimension. The claimer is given the benefit of the doubt as to which definition of “size” was intended, and the public is expected to be astute enough to realize that there could be more than one interpretation and that it’s their responsibility to figure out which applies.

I third the suggestion that the toy is supposed to grow 500 times in volume. A cube that measures 8 inches along each edge can hold 512 cubes measuring one inch along each edge.

My _____ doesn’t grow that big, either. :frowning:

I just got one from a coworker. It say that it grows 600%. I assume that’s by volume.

Isn’t 600% just 6x? Sounds pretty reasonable to me (even in length)… a lot more so than FIVE HUNDRED TIMES ZOMG!!1!!!one!!! at least.

Here’s one that claims 600% also:

I’m suprised you don’t hear about kids scarfing down handfuls of these capsules:
A bunch of growing dinos in a toddler’s GI tract sounds just horrible.

Trust me, those shells on the outside dissolve so fast the toddler would taste sponge and be unable to swallow it before it got down (I put one in my mouth to test how long it took, I was curious on the same premise).

I agree, I tried the same thing! Little kids don’t chug back capsules very easily, anyway - most of them have to be somewhere near the double digits before they can take capsules without trouble. The danger from toys with little kids is that they’ll lick them or put them in their mouths to gnaw on them, and if they’re the wrong shape and slippery, they can slide down the throat before you know what’s going on.

These things are a serious mouthful of dry gluey ick. I don’t think even I, who normally puts back 4-5 pills and capsules at a shot with no water, could easily swallow even one of these.*

*Grammar pedants: “I, who normally puts back…” or “I, who normally put back…”? I can’t make it sound right.

One of my college professors talked about this whilst discussing “false advertising”. The examples he gave were a tavern advertising “Coldest beer in town!” or a casino claiming “The loosest slots around!”. No court is going to send somebody around to take the temperature of the beer or measure the “looseness” of the slots. It’s just considered plain old “advertising hype”.

(Not a grammar pedant, FTR) “I, who can normally put back…”?