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Amp’d Mobile: Unlimited Minutes Forever, $99*

Amp'd TV adYoung viewers on VH1 and MTV have been bombarded with entertaining commercials for Amp’d Mobile, a cellphone service with entertainment features. What really catches the bargainhunter’s ear is the promise of “unlimited anytime minutes forever for only $99 a month when you sign up for Amp’d Overload.” [VH1 commercial, April 30, 2006]

It is not clear at all what Amp’d Overload is. For the uninitiated, one might conclude that it is the name of their unlimited calling plan.

*MOUSE PRINT: Amp’d Overload and Amp’d Overdose are actually the names of television streaming services offering 20 to 30 channels of programming, for an extra $15 and $20 per month. Subscription to these services is required to obtain the advertised $99 calling plan. So, the actual price of the service is $114 to $119 a month. This price information is not disclosed in the commercial.

Also unclear is the meaning of “forever” in their claim. Is the $99 rate guaranteed forever? Is their offering an unlimited minutes plan guaranteed forever? Their terms and conditions don’t say, except:


To their credit, Amp’d says if any changes have a materially adverse affect on you, you can cancel your contract without termination penalties applying.

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Scott Toilet Paper: Still 1000 Sheets*

scott singleThere are certain things in life you can always count on, literally. One is that Scott toilet paper will have 1000 sheets on the roll and will last a lot longer than its ever-shrinking competitors.

Scott recently released a “Now Improved!” version of the product saying in an ad that it is an “improved long-lasting value.”  “Now with a new soft-textured pattern — and long-lasting convenience.”

What they didn’t boast about was this:

*MOUSE PRINT:  Each of the 1000 sheets is now 3.7 inches instead of the old 4.0 inches long, thus making each roll 300 inches shorter. [Click picture to see old and new packaging and square footage statement.]

In an email, the makers of Scott explained further:

“The new embossed sheet on SCOTT® 1000 bathroom tissue was extensively tested with consumers before it was introduced to the market. Consumer research indicated that the embossed sheet enhanced softness, thickness, and overall product quality. Although consumers preferred this new sheet, we are sorry that you were disappointed. Please be assured that we will share your comments with those involved.

Consumers told us that they preferred our new embossed sheet. To add this feature, we need to choose to either reduce the number of sheets in the roll or decrease the size of each sheet to maintain the overall roll diameter. Consumers favored the smaller sheet to the count reduction. “

Toilet paper, like many products is periodically downsized. You get a little bit less, and typically the package stays the same as does the selling price. It is a clever way to pass on a price increase, since you are paying more per ounce, pound, foot, or whatever.

Thousand sheet toilet paper started out by having sheets that were typically 4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches long. The length was shortened a bit to 4.4 inches and then to 4.0 inches. With Scott going to 3.7 inches, the other brands are sure to follow. The net result is that 8/10ths of an inch has been shaved from each sheet over the years. That means each roll is 800 inches shorter.

Some improvement.

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Gorilla Glue: Toughest Glue on Planet Earth*

Gorilla glue No one wants a weak glue. So it is a good thing we can buy Gorilla Glue which the maker claims is “the toughest glue on planet earth.”

Even on their website in answer to the question, “Is it really the Toughest Glue on Planet Earth,” they say “Gorilla Glue is an all purpose adhesive. If used correctly, it will bond just about anything and for just about forever. It is free of solvents and fillers which makes it both strong and versatile. There are some things that are just difficult to glue, such as certain plastics, but we are confident that once you’ve tried Gorilla Glue, you will be more than satisfied with the results.” [GorillaGlue.com FAQ, August 1, 2006]

So, pretty much, they are sticking to their claim. The makers of Elmer’s Glue, however, were not buying it. They challenged that advertised claim with the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau [NAD]. Elmer’s argued that “the toughest glue on planet earth” was a specific, superiority claim and wanted to see their substantiation.

According to NAD, Gorilla Glue provided no evidence to support its superiority claim, but offered this explanation:

*MOUSE PRINT: The “toughest glue” claim was mere puffery and “is so broad in scope, so general in nature, and so exaggerated in content, that no reasonable consumer would believe it to be a superiority claim.”

If that kind of logic were allowed to stand, then any advertiser could make specific claims about their products and defend those claims by in essence saying that a consumer would have to be an idiot to believe our advertising.

The NAD adhered to their set of interpretations of what constitutes a real claim and what constitutes puffery, and ruled against Gorilla Glue. They recommended discontinuing the claim on their packages and in advertising.

Gorilla is appealing the case, but somehow the “just kidding” disclaimer has not yet found its way onto the product.

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