Weasels & Other Super Bowl Ad Critters

In this essay, Jeffrey Schrank gives a list of the techniques advertisers employ to make claims for their products. I have reprinted selections from the article and used Super Bowl ads that I believe illustrate the concepts Professor Schrank stresses:

"The 'claim' is the verbal or print part of an ad that makes some claim of superiority for the product being advertised... some are honest statements about a truly superior product, but most fit into the category of neither bold lies nor helpful consumer information. They balance on the narrow line between truth and falsehood by a careful choice of words.

"The reason so many ad claims fall into this category of pseudo-information is that they are applied to parity products, products in which all or most of the brands available are nearly identical. Since no one superior product exists, advertising is used to create the illusion of superiority. The largest advertising budgets are devoted to parity products such as gasoline, cigarettes, beer and soft drinks, soaps, and various headache and cold remedies...

"The first rule of parity involves the Alice in Wonderlandish use of the words "better" and "best." In parity claims, "better" means "best" and "best" means "equal to."
When the "king" in this Castrol commercial states that nothing beats Castrol Edge brand motor oil in wear protection, he is not claiming Castrol is the best motor oil or that it is better than any other, even though it seems so. Note that this commercial also demonstrates a scientific claim as explained in number 8 below. And how much more vague can you get (see number 6 below) than the tag line "It's more than just oil; it's liquid engineering."

Regarding the scientific claim that Castrol Edge provides 8x better wear protection than Mobil 1 5w 30, a rocket scientist might have trouble figuring out what this actually means.

If you are able to navigate skillfully, the Castrol website contains an explanation of the test results on which the claim is based. As I understand it, the industry standard test is designed to determine whether an oil meets some minimum level of "oilness". The touted differences are measured in microns.

Many questions are not answered, such as "Are apples and apples being compared? Do other tests show different results? How does this test relate to conditions an ordinary consumer encounters in using the oil? How do the prices of the two oils compare?"

One can go on and on. The point is that the "scientific" claim creates the impression of superiority without actually stating so clearly and unequivocally.

"To create the necessary illusion of superiority, advertisers usually resort to one or more of the following ten basic techniques. Each is common and easy to identify.

A weasel word is a modifier that practically negates the claim that follows...Words or claims that appear substantial upon first look but disintegrate into hollow meaninglessness on analysis are weasels. Commonly used weasel words include 'helps' (the champion weasel); 'like' (used in a comparative sense);...'virtually';...'can be';...'up to';...'fights';...'fortified';...'enriched';...'strengthened'...

[e.g]...'Helps control dandruff symptoms with regular use.' The weasels include 'helps control,' and possibly even 'symptoms' and 'regular use.' The claim is not 'stops dandruff....

'Leaves dishes virtually spotless.' We have seen so many ad claims that we have learned to tune out weasels. You are supposed to think spotless,' rather than 'virtually' spotless...
"Help" is on the way:

The unfinished claim is one in which the ad claims the product is better, or has more of something, but does not finish the comparison...[e.g]'Magnavox gives you more.' More what?...'You can be sure if it's Westinghouse.' Sure of what?
What's G?:

This kind of claim states that there is nothing else quite like the product being advertised...The uniqueness claim is supposed to be interpreted by readers as a claim to superiority...[e.g]'There's no other mascara like it.'...
Other beers drink like a guy smashing into a tree:

'Water is wet' claims say something about the product that is true for any brand in that product category, (for example, 'Schrank's water is really wet.') The claim is usually a statement of fact, but not a real advantage over the competition... [e.g.]'Great Lash greatly increases the diameter of every lash.'..."SKIN smells differently on everyone.' As do many perfumes.
Dogs make better pets than big wild animals:

This is the kind of claim to which the careful reader will react by saying "So What?" A claim is made which is true but which gives no real advantage to the product. This is similar to the "water is wet" claim except that it claims an advantage which is not shared by most of the other brands in the product category...

[e.g.]...'Campbell's gives you tasty pieces of chicken and not one but two chicken stocks.' Does the presence of two stocks improve the taste? 'Strong enough for a man but made for a woman.' This deodorant claim says only that the product is aimed at the female market.
The first diet cola for men:

The vague claim is simply not clear. This category often overlaps with others. The key to the vague claim is the use of words that are colorful but meaningless, as well as the use of subjective and emotional opinions that defy verification. Most contain weasels...

"[e.g.]'Lips have never looked so luscious.' Can you imagine trying to either prove or disprove such a claim?...'Its deep rich lather makes hair feel good again.'...
Lots of candidates here - Virtually all of the Bud light commercials "only beer with just the right taste" "difference is drinkability" "Bud light is easy to drink" "Bud light has an easy drinking taste" and this one - More intelligent electricity?:

A celebrity or authority appears in an ad to lend his or her stellar qualities to the product. Sometimes the people will actually claim to use the product, but very often they don't...

This kind of ad uses some sort of scientific proof or experiment, very specific numbers, or an impressive sounding mystery ingredient...[e.g]'Special Morning--33% more nutrition.' Also an unfinished claim...

This kind of claim butters up the consumer by some form of flattery...[e.g]'We think a cigar smoker is someone special.'...'If what you do is right for you, no matter what others do, then RC Cola is right for you.'...'You've come a long way, baby.'
"For drivers who want to get the most:

This technique demands a response from the audience. A question is asked and the viewer or listener is supposed to answer in such a way as to affirm the product's goodness...[e.g]'Shouldn't your family be drinking Hawaiian Punch?'..."
Isn't it time?: