1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

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1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby asdfzxc » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:02 am UTC

Image

Alt-text: Blatantly banking on customers not understanding that it's like a Hollywood studio advertising that their new movie was 'watched by Roger Ebert'.

Reminded me of http://xkcd.com/641/.
Last edited by asdfzxc on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:05 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:05 am UTC

"You said no half measures."
"Yeah, it's funny how words can be so open to interpretation."

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:06 am UTC

"Clinically studied" = a rat sniffed at it in one of our HazMat dumpsters.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby SoaG » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:11 am UTC

Clinically
Studied
Ingredient

CSI is also who will be trying to figure out what could have done so much damage to your internal organs.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Coyne » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:57 am UTC

There's just so many ways this can be used in life:

"I've been tested as a doctor by the state licensing agency."
"I've been tested as a lawyer by the state bar."
"Our car has been tested by a major consumer interest organization."
"Project management has checked my project to see that it is on track."
"The necessity of this meeting has been checked with management."
"My management style has been compared to the best styles available."

So many ways to say nothing ... so little time.
In all fairness...

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Alex-J » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:04 am UTC

Any specific drug/herb/whatever advertisements prompt this?

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Angelastic » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:29 am UTC

Coyne wrote:"My management style has been compared to the best styles available."
Technically, this actually does imply that people think your management style is similar to the best styles available. Perhaps 'compared with' would work better.
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Al-pocalypse » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:39 am UTC

What I find more depressing is that the population as a whole is too ignorant of science (and English for that matter) that they accept this.
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:56 am UTC

Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Dingbats » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:57 am UTC

I'm probably to ignorant of science and English to fully understand this comic..?

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby brandbarth » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:26 am UTC

I'm probably to ignorant of science and English to fully understand this comic..?


Sey, revy chum so!

Short version: To say that a thing is tested does not mean s**t, as long as you say nothing about the results.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Antior » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:34 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


Yes. But, I would assume that common filler substances such as flour (or whatever) they put in pills or water or alcohol they use for liquid medicines have been tested clinically, to be safe for consumption. So every drug that contains a filler substance has a 'clinically studied ingredient'. That is, every drug ever.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Waladil » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:04 am UTC

Anyone here see the new 5-Hour Energy commercial?

They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).
So... couldn't that be like saying that 73% of doctors would recommend getting a shallow stab wound (to patients who are already going to get stabbed)?
Although on the flip-side, it could also be like saying that 73% of doctors recommend drinking filtered Fountain of Youth water (to patients who are already drinking from the Fountain of Youth).

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:14 am UTC

Antior wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


Yes. But, I would assume that common filler substances such as flour (or whatever) they put in pills or water or alcohol they use for liquid medicines have been tested clinically, to be safe for consumption. So every drug that contains a filler substance has a 'clinically studied ingredient'. That is, every drug ever.

Exactly, every drug or supplement or medical device or anything new to the market that will be ingested or inhaled or whatever will be clinically tested, saying that it is clinically tested is completely redundant.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby MartinN » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:46 am UTC

This is something I have been thinking about when they advertise a movie as "X has been compared to Se7en". Now, English is not my first language, but I have the feeling that this could mean "Movie X is not nearly as good as Se7en"

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Dr. Diaphanous » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:46 am UTC

Waladil wrote:They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).


But...calories are a unit of energy. So they recommended a low-energy energy supplement (or a low-calorie calorie supplement)?

On the plus side, if it's 73% (not 75%) it means at least 30 doctors responded (22/30 = 73.3%, and that's the lowest number of doctors that gives 73% that I could find, e.g 21/29 = 72.4% and 22/29 = 75.9%).
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby ccaccus » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:04 am UTC

Waladil wrote:Anyone here see the new 5-Hour Energy commercial?

They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).
So... couldn't that be like saying that 73% of doctors would recommend getting a shallow stab wound (to patients who are already going to get stabbed)?
Although on the flip-side, it could also be like saying that 73% of doctors recommend drinking filtered Fountain of Youth water (to patients who are already drinking from the Fountain of Youth).


To me, that sounds like they're saying "If you're already taking energy supplements, you should take one that's low-calorie rather than the ones you may be drinking now that may be high in calories."

Your first analogy is spot on. The second one is more like:
"If you're already drinking from Fountain of Youth A (which, it turns out, is 400 Calories per Liter), you should consider switching to Fountain of Youth B (which only has 135 Calories per Liter)" (Though, to be fair, if you're drinking from ANY Fountain of Youth, who's to tell you what to do about your health?)

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Waladil » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:37 am UTC

ccaccus wrote:
Waladil wrote:Anyone here see the new 5-Hour Energy commercial?

They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).
So... couldn't that be like saying that 73% of doctors would recommend getting a shallow stab wound (to patients who are already going to get stabbed)?
Although on the flip-side, it could also be like saying that 73% of doctors recommend drinking filtered Fountain of Youth water (to patients who are already drinking from the Fountain of Youth).


To me, that sounds like they're saying "If you're already taking energy supplements, you should take one that's low-calorie rather than the ones you may be drinking now that may be high in calories."

Your first analogy is spot on. The second one is more like:
"If you're already drinking from Fountain of Youth A (which, it turns out, is 400 Calories per Liter), you should consider switching to Fountain of Youth B (which only has 135 Calories per Liter)" (Though, to be fair, if you're drinking from ANY Fountain of Youth, who's to tell you what to do about your health?)


Well the way I see it is that they were trying to advertise as if it were important news for everyone, rather than only those who were already drinking energy supplements. It wasn't "switch from regular to low-calorie," it was "drink low-calorie." Yes, low-calorie may be superior to regular, but that doesn't really have any import on whether the product as a whole is a good choice.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:57 am UTC

This sentence contains a joke that is supposed to be funny!
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:04 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


My guess is that this was either in reference to homeopathy or herbal supplements. Both are infamous for not having to be tested for effectiveness by the FDA before approval. Although I'm sure they have to be tested for harmful substances. So if it implies anything it implies: "This product does not contain significant amounts of arsenic or mercury."
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:10 am UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:
Waladil wrote:They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).


But...calories are a unit of energy. So they recommended a low-energy energy supplement (or a low-calorie calorie supplement)?

On the plus side, if it's 73% (not 75%) it means at least 30 doctors responded (22/30 = 73.3%, and that's the lowest number of doctors that gives 73% that I could find, e.g 21/29 = 72.4% and 22/29 = 75.9%).


Unless they have a half a doctor in there somewhere... Poor Horatio



What this statistic makes me wonder is what did the other 27% recommend? Did they recommend not taking energy supplements anymore? That would mean that less people should buy this type of product who already use it. That's a pretty big deal if it is the case. Just sayin'
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Istaro » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:17 am UTC

Coyne wrote:"Project management has checked my project to see that it is on track."


I don't know, that says to me that a) it's on track and b) project management has checked it. Maybe replace "that" with "whether", but that'd make it too obvious. I guess you could say "Project management has checked the progress [too bad on-trackness isn't a word] of my project."

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More marketing bs

Postby RogerB » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:34 am UTC

I once worked for a company that made scientific instruments. These had to be tested to see if they met radio emission standards.

(Incidentally, that was an interesting day out as the testing was done 300 feet underground in a worked out chamber in a salt mine; to avoid picking up Radio1.)

Anyway, the instrument failed the radio emissions test. The leaflet marketing produced said "designed to meet radio emission standards".

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby @maniexx » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:44 am UTC

Wow.
the instrument failed the radio emissions test. The leaflet marketing produced said "designed to meet radio emission standards".

If I ever decide to be evil, I'll start by finding a marketing job :D
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:59 am UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


My guess is that this was either in reference to homeopathy or herbal supplements. Both are infamous for not having to be tested for effectiveness by the FDA before approval. Although I'm sure they have to be tested for harmful substances. So if it implies anything it implies: "This product does not contain significant amounts of arsenic or mercury."

The FDA largely cannot do much if they don't promise to cure, prevent, or treat specific diseases. The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) that ensures product safety seems to be largely run on the honor system and was found to be largely ignored by supplement makers. The FDA can only label a product harmful only through reports - submitted by the makers - about adverse effects and generally lacks the funding and manpower to actually independently test the products.

A better example might be: "The paperwork at the FDA says this product does not contain lethal levels of arsenic or mercury."
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm UTC

@maniexx wrote:Wow.
the instrument failed the radio emissions test. The leaflet marketing produced said "designed to meet radio emission standards".

If I ever decide to be evil, I'll start by finding a marketing job :D


I suggest starting in TeleSales and working your way down...

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:04 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


My guess is that this was either in reference to homeopathy or herbal supplements. Both are infamous for not having to be tested for effectiveness by the FDA before approval. Although I'm sure they have to be tested for harmful substances. So if it implies anything it implies: "This product does not contain significant amounts of arsenic or mercury."

The FDA largely cannot do much if they don't promise to cure, prevent, or treat specific diseases. The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) that ensures product safety seems to be largely run on the honor system and was found to be largely ignored by supplement makers. The FDA can only label a product harmful only through reports - submitted by the makers - about adverse effects and generally lacks the funding and manpower to actually independently test the products.

A better example might be: "The paperwork at the FDA says this product does not contain lethal levels of arsenic or mercury."


I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but the FDA sure make sure the place I work is testing all our products to make sure they are safe for patient use. we get audited by them at least once a year for GMP, GLP, GCLP, and just GxP in general.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Angua » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:Well to be fair, if it was clinically studied and found to be bad or harmful the FDA/MHRA/whoever would not let it go to market, so a clinical study would guarantee its safety.

More appropriate would be the fact that clinically studying something does not guarantee its efficacy.


My guess is that this was either in reference to homeopathy or herbal supplements. Both are infamous for not having to be tested for effectiveness by the FDA before approval. Although I'm sure they have to be tested for harmful substances. So if it implies anything it implies: "This product does not contain significant amounts of arsenic or mercury."

It could also be used for foods being marketed as healthy (like cereals and yoghurt).
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:46 pm UTC

Alex-J wrote:Any specific drug/herb/whatever advertisements prompt this?

All of them.

PS nice Klein bottle. Is it one of Cliff Stoll's ?
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:
Waladil wrote:They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).


But...calories are a unit of energy. So they recommended a low-energy energy supplement (or a low-calorie calorie supplement)?

On the plus side, if it's 73% (not 75%) it means at least 30 doctors responded (22/30 = 73.3%, and that's the lowest number of doctors that gives 73% that I could find, e.g 21/29 = 72.4% and 22/29 = 75.9%).


Not a fan of rounding, eh? :P
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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby fagricipni » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:59 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:
Waladil wrote:They surveyed 3,000 doctors, and 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement (to patients who already use energy supplements).


But...calories are a unit of energy. So they recommended a low-energy energy supplement (or a low-calorie calorie supplement)?

On the plus side, if it's 73% (not 75%) it means at least 30 doctors responded (22/30 = 73.3%, and that's the lowest number of doctors that gives 73% that I could find, e.g 21/29 = 72.4% and 22/29 = 75.9%).


Actually 8/11 will do the job: 8/11=.7272 or, rounded, 73%.
Last edited by fagricipni on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Dave » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:59 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:On the plus side, if it's 73% (not 75%) it means at least 30 doctors responded (22/30 = 73.3%, and that's the lowest number of doctors that gives 73% that I could find, e.g 21/29 = 72.4% and 22/29 = 75.9%).


Perhaps I'm being an idiot, but if you're saying 22/30, then surely 11/15 also gives 73.3%, so it could mean just 15 doctors responded. :?

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby Patrik3 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:05 pm UTC

Today's SMBC comic seemed weirdly similar...

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby cletus » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

This reminds me of a recent jeans commercial where the guy says something like "Studies show that people think I look good in ***** jeans." How many people did they have to ask before the two they needed to say this?

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby justalurkr » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

The audacity of marketers cannot be overstated and can never be understated. As one of the people frequently tasked with bringing their promises into the realm of the real since 1986, I might be negatively biased.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby willpellmn » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

Does anyone have an example of a product actually using this phrase? I know marketers will try all sorts of nonsense (the recent announcement that several of my favorite cereals are randomly "gluten-free" now was a notable example), but it seems like this one is too transparent for even The Average American to fall for. I mean, it doesn't even sound positive, let alone superlative.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby pscottdv » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:25 pm UTC

Angelastic wrote:
Coyne wrote:"My management style has been compared to the best styles available."
Technically, this actually does imply that people think your management style is similar to the best styles available. Perhaps 'compared with' would work better.


How about "compared using"? Now you are not even claiming your style has been compared to other styles. Maybe it has been compared to a steaming pile.

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby justalurkr » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:I'm probably to ignorant of science and English to fully understand this comic..?


I'm inferring that you don't understand what is funny about this comic? I'm a native English speaker and have a fair understanding of both marketing and the science being abused, and I promise that understanding doesn't necessarily make it ha-ha funny. I place this strip more in the observational, "What fools these mortals be!" category of humor.

"Clinically studied ingredient" says exactly nothing of use to the decision-making consumer, but may be taken by the casual shopper to mean "clinically proven to completely change your loser life for the better," which is what audacious marketers are trying for as a sales tactic. A casual shopper with even as casual an understanding of the scientific method that ought to be behind clinical studies as I have (I don't really know what they're getting up to in clinics these days) is more likely appalled and might not even bother to read the ingredients list before making another choice.

The "What fools these mortals be!" portion is that we keep seeing nonsense on labels because nonsense keeps selling product. I don't find that to be ha-ha funny, but others' mileage may vary.
Last edited by justalurkr on Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:38 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: More marketing bs

Postby tups » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

RogerB wrote:I once worked for a company that made scientific instruments. These had to be tested to see if they met radio emission standards.

(Incidentally, that was an interesting day out as the testing was done 300 feet underground in a worked out chamber in a salt mine; to avoid picking up Radio1.)

Anyway, the instrument failed the radio emissions test. The leaflet marketing produced said "designed to meet radio emission standards".


This ...
just ...this !

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Re: 1096: "Clinically Studied Ingredient"

Postby VectorZero » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

justalurkr wrote:
Dingbats wrote:I'm probably to ignorant of science and English to fully understand this comic..?


I'm inferring that you don't understand what is funny about this comic? I'm a native English speaker and have a fair understanding of both marketing and the science being abused, and I promise that understanding doesn't necessarily make it ha-ha funny. I place this strip more in the observational, "What fools these mortals be!" category of humor.

"Clinically studied ingredient" says exactly nothing of use to the decision-making consumer, but may be taken by the casual shopper to mean "clinically proven to completely change your loser life for the better," which is what audacious marketers are trying for as a sales tactic. A casual shopper with even as casual an understanding of the scientific method that ought to be behind clinical studies as I have (I don't really know what they're getting up to in clinics these days) is more likely appalled and might not even bother to read the ingredients list before making another choice.

The "What fools these mortals be!" portion is that we keep seeing nonsense on labels because nonsense keeps selling product. I don't find that to be ha-ha funny, but others' mileage may vary.
More specifically, the girl in the comic states she's been tested, the implication from context being tested for STDs, without reference to the outcome.

I can't find a reference, annoyingly, but there is an ongoing case in Australia of a supplement of some type being approved for sale (similarly to the US, they only have to show evidence of no harm to get an alternative/complementary medicine approved for sale), then a complaint being made to the relevant consumer authority over outlandish claims of efficacy. During the months/year/however long review, the product continued to be sold. When it appeared they would have a complaint upheld against them, the company subtly rejigged the formula and changed the name (i think they added "Plus" to the end of the product name), withdrew the offending product from sale and continued on their merry way.
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.


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