One of the oldest and most useful techniques PR and marketing folks use, to promote a product or a product’s positioning, is surveys and survey results. There was a time when survey results helped set perceptions about brands and their positioning, but in recent times, I have seen brands grazing through the results, only for marketing benefit – one brand even announced something mighty bombastic while the fine print actually said, ‘Survey result among 99 women’!
This morning, there’s an interesting and equally bombastic claim from Parachute Advansed.
The ad. featuring Deepika Padukone announces that,
Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed Hair Oil is significantly superior when compared to other hair types. Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed Hair Oil was found to be stronger, thicker, longer, softer and less damaged when compared to other hair types, making it the World’s Best Hair.
There are fine prints galore, as expected. They include,
- Based on study conducted in April 2012.
- Compared to non-oiled hair.
- Results may vary from individual to individual depending on their health and food habits.
- Refers to Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed.
- Refers to unoiled hair of other ethnicities.
As a normal consumer of the ad., a few reasonable questions.
- What was the duration of the study? Does ‘conducted in April 2012′ mean, it was a 30 day study?
- Who conducted the study and who audited the results? Wouldn’t that matter in making such a HUGE claim?
- What was the median/average health and food habits of the people who were part of the study? Doesn’t that matter when there is a disclaimer on the results being different from individual to individual – I mean, what is the base from which Parachute’s research starts?
- ‘Indian hair oiled with’? Which states come under ‘Indian’? Aren’t there state-wise differences in hair quality, even within India? Kerala, for instance, is known for using coconut oil regularly, while Tamil Nadu loves using shikakai for cleaning hair. North-eastern states may have different hair textures from rest of the country. What is ‘Indian’ in this context, then?
- ‘unoiled hair of other ethnicities’? This is the shadiest of all other fine-print claims. Which other ethnicities were part of this study? How many people were in the study?
Above all, why doesn’t the fine-print text talk about these points and merely talks of vague things?
Ironically, that PDF starts with the text ‘ADVT’ on the top right corner and that I hope indicates ‘Advertising’, as usual. If that IS ‘advertising’, who is making these claims? Parachute themselves? Am I starting to go round in circles, now?
A press release shared for this purpose has this to say (emphasis is mine – not from the source).
A recent international hair research which studied various hair types across the world has found that Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed Hair Oil is significantly superior when compared to other hair types. Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed Hair Oil was found to be stronger, thicker, longer, softer and less damaged when compared to other hair types, making it the Worldâ€™s Best Hair.# After examining the cross sectional areas of different types of hair, scientists have concluded that Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed Hair Oil was thicker with statistically superior fibre properties, indicating that it is much stronger than other hair types.
So, here’s the picture.
Parachute Advansed claims, in a large print ad. that Indian hair oiled with Parachute Advansed is significantly superior when compared to other hair types. They also claim that this results in such people’s hair being the ‘world’s best hair’. They add some fine-print in the bottom to corroborate the claims.
The website includes a PDF to explain this phenomenon further and that turns out to be another advertisement, again, from Parachute Advansed.
Now, I completely buy the fact that 99.9% of women out there would be (a) gullible enough, (b) won’t have the time to or (c) both (a) and (b), to seek information beyond what has been added in BIG BOLD text in the print ad. And I’m sure with such a mega claim, sales will go through the roof. That’s marketing.
But, is this claim valid? If so, who is validating this claim? And, on what basis? If the Drug Control Department in Kerala can raid hair oil and skin care brands that make incredible claims, who can validate or at least cross-check the claims made by Parachute Advansed?
I’m totally open to the possibility that folks at Parachute Advansed have their rear sides covered with a perfectly legitimate third-party to endorse this study and its results. It merely doesn’t come across as convincingly in the communication in the advertisement and the website.