# Stupid math question about percents

I think I am pretty good at math most of the time, but I heard something on the tv that just escapes me for some reason.

There was an ad proclaiming that something (I can’t remember what- I’ve been meaning to ask this for some time) was 1000% better than the competition, later they said that it was 10 times better than the competition.

The reason I’m confused- if something is 100% bigger, it is 2 times the original (or competiting product)- 200% leads me to believe that it’s 3x bigger or better. So 1000% would make me think that it is 11x bigger/better. Was the product on the tv really 11x better, and they were short changing themselves or what?

It’s a TV ad. The rules of math do not apply.

You’re right, they’re wrong, but what’s the surprise? Advertisers are notoriously bad at math.

If they had said it was “1000% of” something else, that’s 10x.

If they say “1000% more” or “1000% bigger,” that would mean 11x.

But, to be frank, while spreading confusion by talking in this way, they’re not really saying anything wrong – do you think it’s REALLY EXACTLY 10 times better? Or just ‘about 10’ or ‘lots’? In that case, 10 times, 11 times it doesn’t matter. They just round to the nearest order of magnitude.

This is as much of a language question as it is a math question.

It’s important to distinguish between “as big as” and “bigger than” (though in reality not everybody does).

100% bigger than = 2 times as big as = 200% as big as the original.

200% bigger than = 2 times bigger than = 3 times as big as = 300% as big as the original.

If New & Improved Buttbuddy Toilet Paper is 20% stronger, that’s good: it’s been improved. But if it’s 20% as strong as the original, that’s bad; it’s not very improved.

What is the product being advertised? Is there any single objective quantity that can be measured that would allow them to say that it’s 1000% better than its competitors? If not, perhaps they can get away with this because the words are simply “puff” with no objective meaning.