Have you ever seen a claim on a package that you just didn’t believe? On the other hand—what about a claim that made you buy a product you wouldn’t have bought otherwise? Sometimes claims are unexpected and surprising. Consumers are often unaware that certain products contain certain benefits. Sometimes these benefits are unexpected, but in other cases, they are so obvious, so ordinary, that they appear… extraordinary.
Up until recently, there was a take-out spot called “THE PUMP Energy Food” located right next door to our agency. What first caught my eye about THE PUMP was the sign outside the store. The a-frame sign let me know about everything they didn’t use: No Saturated Fat, No Egg Yolks, No Mayo, etc. But what it didn’t tell me was what kind of food they actually did serve. The only thing I had to go by was “Energy Food.” Hmmmm… energy food? Did that mean food with supplements in them? Hot dogs fortified with vitamins and minerals? “Energy” used to always mean “caffeine.” Lately, I’m not so sure. After all—doesn’t all food give you energy? Yes. Yes, it does.
What’s interesting to me is that “energy food” sounds like a claim. It also indirectly gives the food a healthful halo. So should I feel good about eating energy food at Pump? I decided to check out their menu. Let’s see: baked tofu, steamed broccoli, brown rice. Sounds good. Also, sandwiches, pasta, and shakes and something called the Lumberjack, which has 752 calories, and the Mondorito, which has 1033 mg of sodium. Ouch. Meanwhile, a glass of their Ginger Mint Lemonade has almost as much sugar as a can of Coke. Sugar does give you energy so I guess it’s okay.
Some time ago, I asked my dentist if I should use whitening toothpaste, and he quickly replied that all toothpaste whitens your teeth. In fact, using a toothbrush with water would whiten your teeth.
This is a claim that gets attention. You usually see this on salad dressings, desserts, and frozen entrees. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “fat free” claim on spring water, though. Why should there be one, anyway? Isn’t it obvious? It is, but I’m also amused at how many “fat free” claims I see on candy. A quick Google shopping search for “fat free candy” generates over 6,000 matches. Wait, you mean there’s no fat in sugar?