Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Statement Analysis: 5 Hour Energy Drink Commercial

Statement Analysis is a great tool to use in advertising, as well as for investors reading annual reports from companies. It gets to the truth, as the principles are applied evenly, from statement to statement. 

Recently, a commercial for "5 Hour Energy Drink" had a woman holding her hand over a huge stack of paper. 

73% flashed before the screen. 

Here is the company statement from the commercial.  In it, there are no direct lies.  

"We asked over 3,000 doctors to review Five Hour Energy. 
And what they said is amazing. 
Over 73% who reviewed 5 Hour Energy said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements. 73%. "

Now, look at it again.  Did 73% of the doctors who were asked to review 5 Hour Energy drink recommend it?  Statement Analysis is in bold type. 


"We asked over 3,000 doctors to review Five Hour Energy. 

This is a straight forward statement, with the pronoun, "we", as the actress was speaking for the company.  The company asked over 3,000 doctors to review the product.  What number over 3,000?

We do not know.

We do know that when someone is going to deceive, and choose a number, it is often "3"

With the small print that ran across the screen, we will not be able to verify the doctors, their degrees, or professions.  At the end of this sentence, there was a pause, indicating a new sentence: 


And what they said is amazing

When the word "and" begins a sentence, it means that there is missing information in between the sentences, as "and" is a word used to connect. 

Note that they "said", and not "reported" indicating verbal response, which may or may not be recorded. 

Over 73% who reviewed 5 Hour Energy said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements. 73%. "

The key, however, to the entire analysis, is found in one single tiny word, made up of a single letter:

"a"

More than 73% of those who reviewed 5 Hour Energy drink said that they would recommend "a" low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients. 

They did not say that they would recommend 5 Hour Energy drink to their "healthy" patients.  

"A" supplement and not "the" supplement advertised. 

Notice also that they added the word "healthy" patients. 

This helps protect them from law suits as unhealthy people, no matter how defined, will not be recommended to take "a" low calorie energy supplement. 

The conclusion:

They were unable to get the doctors to say they would recommend 5 Hour Energy Drink, so they parsed their words (editing process) just enough to make people believe that more than 73% of doctors recommend their product. 

It is not true. 

Deception indicated in spite of technical truthfulness.  

This is often the case.  The intention to deceive is what we pick up in the language. 






27 comments:

Vicki said...

Also they ASKED over 3000, but how many actually REVIEWED? It could have been 4...they dont say.

Vicki

Hobnob said...

This reminds of a couple of adverts one an old one and one fairly recent.

The old one was for a cherry pie filling which showed cherries in a rich sauce whilst the voiceover describe the filling as cherry puree. DOH!!

The other one which even my mom spotted was for a steam cleaning product which calied to use DRY STEAM. Perhaps someone needs to point out water steam is actually wet otherwise it isn't steam. DOH!.

I love the ads listening to not only what they say but also how they say it and what they don't say.
I also annoy the heck out of comapnies when their product looks nothing like te product on the fron of the package. ( one company has used the same image since it began, it used to look like the fron of the box, it doesn't anymore.
When they introduced soya to their product many years ago i sent a polite and slightly sarcastic letter pointing out the product suddenly seemed to include peces of the box it was in. If i wanted extra fibre eating the box is not what i would do. They sent me a letter back and for a year i got t sample and report on a variety of their products as they changed recipes etc. I still do tastings for mars though i refuse to accept responsibility for the shrinkage. My pets also volunteer for tastings.

Jen said...

I see another underlying deception...the statement reads,

"Over 73% who reviewed 5 Hour Energy said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements. 73%. "


I take that to mean something completely different than what the commercial is representing.... meaning, IF the patient is already using energy supplements as the quote states, THEN doctors would recommend 'a' low calorie energy supplement.. (rather that a high calorie?). Either way it doesn't specifically address 5hr energy and is deceptive advertising, lol!

Anonymous said...

PLEASE HELP find Ayla
Jen said...
I see another underlying deception…Cool. I think that the same could be said for the Patsy Ramsy interview. I wonder if you will please do SA on Patsy's statements.

Anonymous said...

I see this type of careful wording on cosmetic/skin care products all the time. The new "cosmeti-cueticals" are particularly clever in the way they present so called research and doctor's stamp of approval.
In writing they never actually make claims for the miraculous results but they infer that it will give you such results.
The beauty advisors are less careful with the wording and the claims they make can be absurd. But, as long as people are less knowledgable and want those things to be true they buy it ... it's hope in a bottle.
The doctors approval lends validity to the premise of it being real and scientifically advanced and beneficial.
It's interesting to see it used in other products such as this. I will have to watch for clever inferences such as this in other products now.

shmi said...

Aha! I caught the intentional little "a" right off the bat!

Skeptical said...

It says they asked 3,000 doctors to review the product. They do not give a final number of how many of those 3.000 they asked actually reviewed the energy drink. 73% of what?

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Skeptical said…personally I think it tastes gross.

I think Patsy Ramsey killed JonBenet twice. The first time accidently, the second time to cover the accident.

reversechapter said...

(Off-Topic) You might find this interesting. Talented sociopaths now know they can get money, and then even more money plus renewed respect after their "apology tour/comeback." These young sociopaths are learning from their heroes, like Ray Lewis and Lance Armstrong.

http://deadspin.com/5976517/manti-teos-dead-girlfriend-the-most-heartbreaking-and-inspirational-story-of-the-college-football-season-is-a-hoax

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
I keep changing my mind.

PR: Well I REMEMBER I, I REMEMBER MYSELF BEING of the phone and HE WAS CROUCHED DOWN ON THE FLOOR there in the hallway LOOKING, reading at the note.
ST: Okay.
PR: And I WAS on the phone SO I don’t know WHICH HAPPENED FIRST OR IT, SIMULTANEOUSLY OR.(I think she's talking about the injuries, this is confusing.)

PR: …I called, um, I, RAN UP AND OPENED, YOU KNOW, PUSHED OPEN her DOOR AND REALIZED SHE WASn't THERE AND I ran to the stairwell that goes up to our room and called for john and, and, then, you know, MOMENTARILY WENT DOWNSTAIRS to the kitchen to call.
ST: Was that when John was checking Burke and the rest of the house that you made that call?
PR: Uh, I believe so. I mean EVERYTHING JUST HAPPENED SO FAST right there. I, I don’t remember, I just remember AT ONE POINT(I think Patsy pushed open a door with force, hitting JonBenet in the head with the lower pointed edge. "point"), you know, WE WERE SAYING WHAT ABOUT BURKE AND JOHN RAN INTO CHECK BURKE and I RAN BACK DOWNSTAIRS and then(skips time, here is where I thought/think Patsy strangled JonBenet) SUDDENLY HE WAS DOWNSTAIRS and I mean IT WAS just…
ST: Okay.
PR: …SO FAST, you know, everything.

What if the cord around her neck was also attached to the door handle?

S + K Mum said...

S.A. is also a very handy tool when listening to a salesperson's pitch when their product is rubbish! You know that they know it is rubbish. I quite often ask 'does this product get a lot of complaints or returns?'. If it's a good product they answer 'no' straight away, if it is rubbish, well, let's just say it is awkward!!

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Boiler room doors sometimes are a few inches clear of the floor for air circulation.

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla

PR: You put the garage door down and that locks, you know, you don’t typically lock THAT METAL DOOR THERE.("that" distancing. "Metal door" extra description.There, makes me wonder about the boiler-room door.)

Lemon said...

This was a great example of SA. :)

Lis said...

This is hilarious.

All the "doctors" said is that they would recommend, to their healthy patients who are already set on using an "energy supplement," that they should at least use A low calorie one.

Advertising...

I wonder how hard the people who are inclined to use this junk want to analyze the statements about it.

Amaleen6 said...

Here's a good article on deception in advertising.... I googled the old "4 out of 5 dentists" Trident sugarless gum phrase.

http://saraib820.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/4-out-of-5-dentists-surveyed-recommend-trident%E2%80%A6now-wait-a-second-marketing-messages-and-their-meanings/

As for weight-loss "supplements"/"energy" drinks, until people realize the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to move more and eat less, and almost every product purporting to give "quick energy" is a stimulant of some sort, these products are going to thrive. Metabolism isn't that easy to reset on a permanent basis.

Mainah said...

OT:
Peter, and readers:
What's the weirdest thing you've SA'd and thought a most peculiar place to find deception, add omission, extraneous information? Like a sign or a tag? Have you ever SA'd money (Federal Reserve Bank Notes) or, ummm, my recollection is that lengthy small print financial contracts are most literal and often intentionally overwhelmingly so, but something we see everyday, and we just accept regardless of truth?(haha, I know, I said we, again. I suppose I mean to say, "me" and "I". And, I have identified the reason for my sensitivity :). It's that embarrassing moment I realize I fell for the duping, hoax, scam, con, etc.

So much material, so little time.

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
January 16, 2013 at 9:12 PM
So much material, so little time…to waste on the 40 words/characters on a little plastic bottle. Compared with the 4000 words in the PR interview. We all pick our battles.Or challenges….

Skeptical said...

One of the funniest I heard was years ago. PBS was offering a "free" Julia Child cookbook for a $25.00 donation.

Lemon said...

"Going Out For Business Sale".

Classic. :)

S + K Mum said...

@ Mainah

I have used SA on salespeople (as above) but I also used it at a meeting with my sons school. They are changing the way examinations are to be carried out......anyways, when parents were asking questions that he didn't have the answers to or didn't really want to answer, it was a very useful tool.It was like watching Prime Ministers questions!

S + K Mum said...

Also, sad as this may seem, I use it when the kids are squabbling and telling tales on each other.....haha! It was handy when one of their friends got caught trying to pinch something aswell!

Original Chipmunk said...

“We asked over 3,000 doctors to review Five Hour Energy. … Over 73% who reviewed 5 Hour Energy…”

We don’t know how many actually reviewed 5 Hour Energy drink – only 73% of those that did, “said that they would recommend a…”

So how many reviewed it? 5 people? 3000?

No idea, but it surface-reads like 73% of 3000+ did.

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
PR: And I WAS on the phone SO I don’t know WHICH HAPPENED FIRST OR IT, SIMULTANEOUSLY OR.(I think she's talking about the injuries. The autopsy says JB died from strangulation. Patsy caused the head injury by pushing her way in through a door.Burke had injuried JonB "FIRST", I'm thinking the "point" may be the bottom of a door that's elevted to allow for air circulation/or the washing machine. I believe that there's a basement machine.
PR: Cause I usually leave a light on in that hallway area there. either the stairs sconces or the, THERE’S A LIGHT IN WHERE THE WASHING MACHINE IS . . .)

PR: …I called, um, I, RAN UP AND OPENED, YOU KNOW, PUSHED OPEN her DOOR AND REALIZED SHE WASn't THERE AND I ran to the stairwell that goes up to our room and CALLED FOR JOHN and, and, then, you know, MOMENTARILY WENT DOWNSTAIRS ( to strangle JB. Patsy didn't want the head injury that she inflicted to be the cause of death. Instead of calling 911 she "momentarily" went downstairs to finish what Burke started, thus creating a cover-up to make it appear that her crazy son killed JB, and that the injury she inflicted pushing her head into a point(washing machine or door bottom wouldn't be seen as the death blow to her husband and Burke. This is why John doesn't want to know the autopsy results.)to the kitchen to call.
ST: Was that when John was checking Burke and the rest of the house that you made that call?
PR: Uh, I believe so. I mean EVERYTHING JUST HAPPENED SO FAST(accident/murder) right there. I, I don’t remember, I just remember AT ONE POINT(I think Patsy pushed open a door with force OR pressure causing JonB's head injury "point"), you know, WE WERE SAYING WHAT ABOUT BURKE AND JOHN RAN INTO CHECK BURKE and I RAN BACK DOWNSTAIRS and then(skips time, here is where I thought/think Patsy strangled JonBenet) SUDDENLY HE WAS DOWNSTAIRS(how did she explain her return to the basement to John? He must have wondered why she didn't call?) and I mean IT WAS just…
ST: Okay.
PR: …SO FAST, you know, everything.

PR: I don’t (inaudible) TRUE CONFESSIONS.
??: (Laughter)

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
PR: Well, AS LOUD AS I could. I mean I REMEMBER my voice KIND OF CRACKING CAUSE I WAS JUST…(again "I remember" , "loud" "cracking")

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