The Best A Man Can Get?

There is a law in this country, I seem to remember, which states that you cannot claim your product is “the best”. Carlsberg had to add the word ‘probably’ to their slogan (but then, Carlsberg is demonstrably not the best lager in the world), so why can everyone else get away with it?

A special dispensation is given, for some reason which I will never understand, to banks. Banks are allowed to compare their interest rates etc. with the competition in their adverts. Of course, it doesn’t work, because they all offer special introductory rates and compare them to the competition’s standard rates, but it’s legal, at least. What I didn’t know was that this dispensation apparently extends to razers. It seems a little random, but Wilkinson Sword claim that “nothing shaves closer or smoother”* and Gilette go right out and claim to offer “the best a man can get”. Naturally, they don’t offer any numbers to back up these claims, but there are a number of good reasons why not.

The first reason is that the advertising standards agency might notice something was amiss if they started having dancing bank employees holding big cards with popular razer names down one side and whisker lengths down the other. The second reason, and probably the clincher, is that men have been trained to ignore statistics in adverts. If men listened to statistics in adverts, cars would have their horsepower and weights listed instead of advertising them by their weird key-cards or some intangible (read: imaginary) quality like “va-va-voom”. If men listened to statistics in adverts, you’d see slogans like “New Lynx: 83% of women think it’s sexy”. But, for better or worse, we have been trained to ignore all statistics, partly by Guinness’ “98% of all statistics are made up” adverts (I might have got the figure wrong, but I hardly see that it would matter), but mostly by adverts for women’s cosmetics.

Personally, I think these adverts are pathetic. If I ever tell a girl “I like your hair.” and she says “Thanks – I took out colour insurance on it this morning” or “Thankyou. It’s 72% more radiant” I think I’ll go talk to a man. I can’t for one second believe that there is a person on this planet sat at home thinking “63%, wow. I wonder how that compares to L’Oreal”, or “Never. That looks like 32% more shine at best”. Despite this, though, there are almost no cosmetics adverts without at least one statistic and a section of alleged science, usually involving at least one pseudoscientific buzzword they’ve made up and trademarked so noone else can use it. The thing is, though, that all of this results in no useful information being conveyed in the entire advert. As a result, all the girls I know on science degrees get their cosmetics from Lush, who use ingredients with names like ‘honey’, ‘vodka’, or ‘fruit’. You know where you are with those.

Technically, the claim is “two million men know nothing shaves closer or smoother”, which could mean one of several things:1. Two million men are wrong 2. You’d get a closer shave using no razer at all.Personally, I’d like to know how two million men know that. Have two million men conducted an intensive double-blind trial of different razers? (And if so, why?)