How dumb do they think we are?

There are good marketing ideas, and there are bad marketing ideas. But the ones that cheese me off the most are those that totally insult my intelligence, such as:

  1. If we call ‘Super Sugar Crisp’ ‘Super Golden Crisp,’ maybe people won’t know it’s full of sugar!

  2. If we call it a ‘pre-owned’ car or ‘program’ car, maybe people won’t realize it’s a used car!

  3. If we call it an ‘encore presentation,’ maybe people won’t realize it’s a rerun!

  4. “And our aspirin has a second ingredient that helps it work even better!” (The second ingredient is nothing more than caffeine.).

I’m sure there are tons more.

“You can tell the medicine in our shampoo is working, because you can feel the tingle!”

Um, the “tingle” comes from the menthol you add to the shampoo. Last I heard, menthol is not a dandruff medicine.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

I don’t know how old you are divemaster, but you must be nearly my age to remember Sugar Crisp (and their spokesbear, Sugar Bear: “Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp, it keeps me goin’ strong.”) If so, you should also recall the big flap about how much sugar there was in breakfast cereal – to the point where it was national news, being debated in Congress (that hotbed of rationality and precision). Seems like it must have been late sixties, early seventies.

It was at about that time that Sugar Crisp became Super Golden Crisp, Sugar Frosted Flakes became Frosted Flakes, Sugar Pops (“Sugar Pops are tops!”) became Corn Pops. In typical “make the problem go away!” fashion, they changed the names of the cereals without changing the sugar content and all the noise and shouting died down.

Insulting to your intelligence? Sure. But which is the bigger insult – Raising an alarm over a non-issue (I recall David Brinkley saying that his son put more sugar on his breakfast cereal than the manufacturers ever did) or making the alarm go away with a little psychological smoke and mirrors.

Wasn’t P. T. Barnum who said no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public?

“If you had manifested fatigue upon noticing that you had been an ass, that would have been logical, that would have been rational; whereas it seems to me that to manifest surprise was to be again an ass.”
Mark Twain
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

My favorite example is Kraft 100% Grated Parmesean Cheese.

Sure, it’s 100% grated…but it’s not 100% parmesean cheese. Ever read the label?

Kentucky Fried Chicken sounds healthier and less fattening when you call it KFC.

Coffee, chocolate, men . . . Some things are just better rich.

On aspirin and caffeine:

For some reason, caffeine does make aspirin work better.


Buzz : the science and lore of alcohol and caffeine by Stephen Braun.

Actually, Dianne, KFC changed it’s name because the state of Kentucky trademarked it’s name so they could charge money to any company that used it’s name for a product or advertising (or so I’ve heard).

Just add water, it makes it’s own sauce!

My personal favorite is when they change the packaging with out changing the content and label it NEW AND IMPROVED. They do this with detergent I compared one called Bright Water - old and new boxes - and not one ingredient was changed.

BTW, it was H.L. Mencken who said you’d never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

Burn - Really? The “fried” thing was just my wild ass guess.

Guess that’s what I get for thinkin’. :confused:

Coffee, chocolate, men . . . Some things are just better rich.

I know that caffeine can help with headaches; I myself have been known to drink a Diet Coke to ward off a caffeine withdrawal headache.

The point I was trying to make about the commercial is that it was supposedly something special about that particular brand of aspirin; some extra medicine to help you. The ad seemed duplicitous to me. Caffeine is not medicine. The fact is that you can wash down generic aspirin with a Coke and achieve the same effect.

Or how about “the strongest pain relief available without a prescription”? They try to make it sound like their brand of (choose one: aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen) is the really heavy-duty stuff and the others are all just wimps, when in fact they are all the same dosage of the same medication.

“If you had manifested fatigue upon noticing that you had been an ass, that would have been logical, that would have been rational; whereas it seems to me that to manifest surprise was to be again an ass.”
Mark Twain
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

How 'bout, “If you haven’t seen it…it’s new to you!” Really grinds me.

There’s a new one here lately for a pizza place. “Were not like the other guys - we use fresh canned tomato sauce!” Fresh canned?! How oxymoronic can you get?

Sigh. It should be, “We’re…”

Did “Super Sugar Crisp” et al. change names because they all suddenly realized “Hey, we’re advertising that our product is nothing but sugar and binders” or because they changed the formula?

If you look at the labels, you’ll notice that while there’s still sugar in them, there is often less “sugar” than “high fructose corn syrup”.

I never was sure whether the change was purely marketing-driven or if someone from the FDA told them “If you’re going to call it Super Sugar Crisp you had damn well better sweeten it with sugar and not HFCS”.

Diane, don’t feel too bad. I had read in the paper soon after the change that it was to get “Fried” out of their image. Which sounds a lot more likely to me than Kentucky trademarking their name. Come to think of it, is that even legal? I doubt it since no one really “owns” Kentucky.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

Divemaster, not everyone’s intelligence is insulted by those strategies…

My theory to explain the people I run into daily who clearly have not evolved intellectually beyond rutabagas, is this:

Civilizations arise and turn people’s attention towards the welfare of their fellow man. An admirable goal!

The fellow man, at some point, no longer has to survive by his wits. Society takes care of those individuals.

Societies grow, and with the population increase, more cretins appear in proportion to the rest of the populace.

Now however, the cretins, supported by the benevolent society, are free to reproduce at alarming rates, while reproduction rates for the educated remain roughly stable, or even drop.

The result? Plenty of people who imagine that if it’s called corn syrup, it isn’t really sugar. So count yourself lucky.

Let me say as a 23 year Kentucky resident, I’ve never heard of our commonwealth ever copyrighting it’s name. In fact, I agree with Jophiel that it’s probably not even legal to do so.

BTW, it has always worried me when Dolly Madison starts tossing in that third “free” Zinger in a pack. Usually, it’s a good sign that they’re about to jack the prices up again.

Carpe hoc!

The thing about Kentucky copyrighting its name isn’t true. It’s a prank pulled by the Snopes page. A lot of people fell for it, and some people grumble about whether the site should be pulling gags like that when it’s viewed as a repository of reliable information.

Notice, the note at the bottom says, “Note: This page is a parody.”

“ColorCoat 2000 has 286 Shine Units !”

I’m translating from the Dutch dubbed over TV-informercial we got here a few years ago… it’s some sort of car wax.

About the same stuff in a new package:

I remember a commercial, it’s an English or Australian one, about some sort of pretzils (sp?) that got a new package. I’ll describe it briefly:

Scene 1: Chef is sitting at a table. Waiter walks up with a covered plate. Puts the plate down, removes the lid. Plate has some “Williams” (making this name up) Pretzils on it, with the old package next to it. Chef tastes them, and makes a dirty face.

Scene 2: same as Scene 1, but with the NEW Pretzil package. Chef tastes, and makes yummy yummy sounds, starts smiling.


End Scene: New package of “Williams” Pretzils is displayed. Slogan appears at the same time the voice-over reads it: “Williams Pretzils. Same shit, new wrapping”.

I fell off the couch laughing :wink:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Don’t know if this is “they think we’re stupid” or just plain old insincerity, but it bugged me nonetheless:

Yesterday on the radio, the morning team was discussing the Forbes list of the 400 richest people/families in the US. The lead DJ is a national personality. (You’d probably know her name or face. She was definitely “makin’ the big bucks” a least once upon a time not too long ago when she was a regular on a national TV show.)

Anyway, they’re going on and on about “these rich people” and how different it is for “us working stiff” types. Like they’re making minimum wage down at the Burger Barn or something. Now I know there’s a big difference between being a DJ – even a really well known one – and a billionaire industrialist, but the “Everyman” pose just struck me as very insincere/insulting. So, I solved that problem and changed the station.