5 things I hate about TV commercials (#5)

#5: Fake Science

If you’ve ever seen commercials for haircare or skincare products, dish detergent, medicine, or paper towels, you’ve seen this quasi-scientific demonstration. It works like this: While the narrator is describing the superior function of the product, you get to see a visual of the scenario but it is meant to look scientific.

For example, paper towel is shown on a split screen, soaking up liquid more effectively than the “leading brand”. And over-the-counter medicine is usually seen at work in a human-shaped silhouette, sending green or blue liquid to ease a throbbing orange light. Hair product and dish detergent commercials follow a similar pattern.

In this example below, I have no idea what the language is but the pseudo-science proves my point.


It doesn’t bother me that advertises use science in their marketing; that can be very compelling. What does bother me is when advertisers use fake science or snappy graphics to pass for science.

Favorite commercials: The most interesting man in the world

My favorite commercials right now are for Dos Equiis. “The Most Interesting Man in the World” is a brilliant series and have done what plenty of other marketing has failed to do: Entice me to buy their product. The beer is decent (I’ve tasted better, I’ve tasted worse) and I have no illusions about actually becoming interesting, but the commercials entertain and — more importantly — the stick. When I’m at the beer store I see Dos Equis, I laugh at the memory of the commercial, and I buy the product.