P&G have had to defend a claim that they have made that the Oral B GoPro toothbrush is the one that is most recommended by dentists.
They won this one comfortably. Being P&G they had little difficulty in pulling together data to show the extent of their market dominance. But even if they hadn’t, this kind of claim is frequently made, rarely challenged and usually tolerated. The regulators recognise that we are all intelligent enough to tell the difference between a specific functional claim and the kind of general puffery that has always gone on. The example that always sticks in my mind is that Danish beer that claims to be the best in the world – adding a self deprecating ‘probably’ afterwards.
We don’t realistically expect that they have diligently done a comparison of their beer with every other beer available on the planet. Likewise – I think it is reasonable to expect that the biggest player in the dental market gets more referrals from dentists. It would be a bit weird if they didn’t.
The sad thing is that these kinds of claims, meaningless as they really are, do seem to work. I found myself drinking some of that famously immodest Danish beer the other day when it was hot and I was thirsty. And while there was nothing wrong with it, I don’t think for a minute it was world beating. But I probably chose it because of its advertising.