If 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest, what does the fifth dentist recommend? Is he crazy? Is there some miracle tooth cleaner out there that works better than toothpaste? Does he brush with soap or salt? Does he specialize in braces?
Some other brand, or no particular brand, or no comment.
Consumer product companies are careful to word their advertisements in a certain manor, so they seem to portray product ranking when they aren’t. The 4/5 dentists might also recommend Colgate too, but Crest just leaves that part out.
We are inundated with spurious claims like this. 8 out of 10 cats, 37 out of 45 supermodels. I often wonder if they really did some kind of survey (to comply with ad standards maybe) or do they just make them up?
Did they only ask 5 dentists? Not a representative sample then. Did four of them have a contract with Crest? Who knows or cares - it is all BS.
The fifth dentist says:
“Don’t use the product under ANY circumstances!” but for some strange reason, the quote is not used?
I remember that back in the fifties 9 out of 10 doctors who tried Camels went back to their wives.
I thought it was sugarless gum, for their patients who chew gum, according to Dentists who were surveyed.
One source of these sorts of surveys is conventions, where I have seen the medical professions take part. There is often a small trinket or benefit to get you in the booth. Perhaps an attractive survey taker.
For branded products, one confounding influence is whether or not the brand in question is being supplied discounted or gratis to the institution using or recommending it. If most hospitals use Advil or Duracell, perhaps it’s helpful to know how the supply chain for those brands works.
As to the 5th Dentist: depends on how the survey question was structured. The sugarless gum survey may have had only “yes” and “no.” If you research Trident and sugarless gum survey, you will find lots of material on that (in)famous campaign.
I believe it’s actually that 5 out of 5 dentists would recommend any toothpaste that has flouride. So, if you ask them “Would you recommend TastesLikeFartsButHasFlouride Toothpaste?”, pretty much any dentist will say yes.
But 5 out of 5 sounds suspicious to consumers, while 4/5 sounds much more likely to our ears. And since it’s technically true that if 5 out of 5 dentists recommend something, it’s also true that 1 out of 5 or 4 out of five recommend it, the marketing department goes with the stat that sounds best.
Yes, specifically it was Trident commercials that used the line. I recall a Q&A column years ago where the no-cite-given answer to that question was that the “fifth dentist” recommended giving up chewing gum.
Gee, I wonder where you saw that Q&A column
The one I read predates that column by at least 2 years. It was in some Sunday newspaper supplement when I was in high school (I graduated in 1978.) My first exposure to The Straight Dope was when the first collection was published (around 1986 IIRC).
How do you taste farts?
There are lies, damned lies and advertising…
Colgate Total was recommended by my dentist because it contains some [unknown to me] beneficial ingredient that no other tooth paste has (yet).
Maybe he’s also one of the people that enjoys hemorrhoids instead of suffers from them.
(RIP Robert Schimmel)
Isn’t it obvious? He recommends whatever’s good for business.
I always suspected that the fifth dentist recommended caramel followed by a quick rinse with a sugar solution. As AaronX said, “whatever’s good for business.”
You’ve never drank any water from Saratoga Springs park, I take it.