Rather than tell us exactly how good the product is, advertisers often use slogans like
These sound positive, but mean nothing
. Smarter than what? How white does it wash? How are they measuring softness? Why do I want an "extreme" bathing sponge?
By omitting the standard they're comparing their product against, they've avoided making specific claims about their product and made comparisons with their competitors much harder than otherwise. One of the more common forms of Weasel Words
Compare Best is Average, Better is Best
, where legally indistinguishable competitors are free to tout their claims to be "the best". See also Asbestos-Free Cereal
- Avis (car rental company) -"We try harder"
- Seeing as Avis took the quote out of its context themselves, it is an example. However, there was a comparison once upon a time: Avis was the second-largest car rental company behind Hertz. When that fact was mentioned to then-CEO Robert Townsend, he said, "Yes, but we try harder."
- Food packaging (Milk Duds are a concrete example that springs to mind) frequently includes a claim such as "50% more!" without specifying whether the comparison refers to a previous version of the same product, a competing product, or something else entirely.
- Sometimes, truth of advertising law will force these to put the actual basis of comparison in small print somewhere. It often turns out that the package you're holding has 50% more than... A smaller package of the same product.
- Billy Mays' OxiClean which with one scoop in every load will make your "whites whiter!" and "your brights brighter!"...than they were before you washed them?
- Pringles' tagline for its flavored chips is "bursting with more flavor!*" The asterisk: "*than before". The question: Before when?
- An old Super Mario World commercial once advertised the game by repeating "a bit more (adjective)" multiple times, using adjectives such "exciting", "challenging", "colourful", "realistic", "hotter", "cooler", "weirder" and "revolutionary". Many of these 16 bits don't really apply to Super Mario World at all. And of course, the real question is "a bit more (adjective) than what, exactly?" Super Mario Bros. 3?
- Tesco "Every little helps!" Helps who? Every little bit of your money you give them helps them become more filthy rich, possibly.