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Do These Products Really Give You 40-50% More?

Grocery product manufacturers love to hide when they are giving you less for your money, but proclaim loudly when they are giving you more even if they really are providing nothing extra.

Example 1:

Clorox Clean-up spray bottles are adorned with a new claim that the product “cleans 40% more per spray*.”

Clorox 40% more

It took a while to find where that asterisked claim was explained, but there it was in tiny print on the back of the bottle.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Clorox fine print

Well that explains everything… NOT. What in the world does that claim mean? Has the product been reformulated so it is 40% stronger than before and thus cleans 40% better?

We asked the company’s PR folks multiple times for an explanation, but they did not respond. Our guess is that the spray nozzle and feeder tube have been redesigned and now 40% more cleaner comes out with every spritz. That’s sort of like making the hole bigger on the toothpaste tube so you’ll use more.

Examples 2 and 3:

The most common type of “percent more” claim is designed to catch your eye and make you think you are getting a bonus — some extra amount free — because you picked up this particular promotional package.

French's Mustard - Mrs. Butterworth's

When you look more closely at these two bottles, they are not giving you anything extra free. They are merely providing a mathematics lesson.

*MOUSE PRINT:

mustard and syrup disclosures

Both products are just larger size bottles than smaller ones. A 20-ounce bottle is (approx.) 40% more than a 14-ounce bottle, and a 36-ounce is 50% more than 24-ounces. Nothing more. Nothing free.

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8 thoughts on “Do These Products Really Give You 40-50% More?”

  1. Did you know every automobile is capable of getting 1000 miles per tank….The manufactures just need to make larger gasoline tanks. Like many years ago when VW advertised xxx miles to a tank yet fuel economy never changed VW just made larger tanks from previous years model.

  2. Is the 20 oz size new? I remember when local store-brand cola 3 Liter bottles were introduced proclaiming “50% more than 2 liters”. I found that quite ludicrous. Can people really not tell the difference between 2 and 3 or figure out by how much 3 is greater than 2?

  3. In that they aren’t including something “free,” you are complaining about the wrong thing. All the examples you gave simply said X% more than something, without any claims of something for free. There ARE products out there that DO say X% Free, but you didn’t include those.

    Edgar replies: These companies are counting on the fact some hurried shoppers will misunderstand their claim of “40% more” and believe it means this is a bonus pack with extra content free. No one needs a mathematics lesson that a 36 ounce bottle is 50% more than a 24 ounce one. That is there primarily to mislead consumers in my view.

  4. The second-most disappointing thing about the Clorox product is that “Clean-Up” is a registered trademark.

  5. I remember how hard I scoffed when I first noticed this labeling trick. A 24 oz pickle jar label advertising 50% MORE*!

    *Relative to 16 oz.

  6. I thought Edgar’s examples were really good, and are unfortunately very common. My other favorite one is “new and improved.” Improved over what? If you read the mouse print corresponding to the inevitable asterisk, the explanation makes about as much sense as Edgar’s size examples.

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