Centrum and Truth in Advertising

Oct 15, 2013

truthI can’t stand it anymore. There’s a Centrum® commercial that really gets me.  It contains an inside joke of sorts, if you know what to listen for.

It goes like this:  Nice looking, healthy guy tells the camera (us) that he had been on the fence about taking Centrum Silver until he read an article about a long-term study that changed his mind.  He goes on to say that Centrum was used for the study.


Here’s what the commercial doesn’t say:  What did the study prove?  Were there benefits attributed to using Centrum specifically?  My guess is there weren’t.  Does any thinking person really believe that if said study had proven, for the positive, that using Centrum specifically had made a difference in the outcome that their advertising wouldn’t be shouting it from the roof tops?  Instead, the tagline is “Most recommended.  Most preferred. Most studied.”

Technically, I am sure all of that is true.  I assume Pfizer’s legal department made certain of it.  But, as is the case in many situations, we want to pay as much attention to what is not being said, as to what is.


Fact is there is a Landmark Study which was published in Nutrition Journal in 2007.  This third party study was conducted by renowned nutrition researcher, Gladys Block at UC Berkeley. It compared the long-term benefits of those using multiple supplements (Shaklee®) to those using another, single multi (Centrum?  GNC®?) and those using nothing at all.  The results proved that those using Shaklee had better health than the other two groups. See full details, including video overview and complete abstract here.

Landmark Study Results

I am not saying this is the study the commercial is referring to.  What I am saying is that if they had results like this, don’t you think they’d be saying something other than “most studied?”


When I began my career in the wellness industry over 20 years ago, I had two jobs when it came to marketing.  Both involved educating consumers.   First, I had to educate people on why nutrition and more importantly, supplementation, could help heal.  Second, I needed to teach them what to look for in a brand and the questions to ask.  Today, media does the first one for me. Now, I only have to focus on teaching about why brand matters.

In terms of truth in advertising, Centrum is okay.  Misleading maybe, but technically truthful.  Yet again, this is a case of knowing what to look/listen for and the right questions to ask.  In this case, the question is do you want to be the “most studied” or the one proven to get results?


24 years ago, I chose results.  Those results, and the fact that no other brand had produced them for me previously, caused me to explore what made Shaklee so different.  The answers amazed me and launched me on a mission to inform others.  24 years later, I am proud that the simple, consistent acts of educating and questioning have caused so many others to make informed decisions, change brands and transform their health.

And that’s the truth!


About Kim Reed

About Kim Reed


Master the Possible | Illuminating Possibilities: This blog is dedicated to the notion that success leaves clues. And, let me offer the disclaimer that none of this is new. None of my revelations are original. Certainly, beginning with the ubiquitous success reference is evidence already. I actually believe that there really is nothing new under the sun. All anyone does, especially when it comes to self-help or actualization is merely rearrange the material. If you think about it, you might say that most (all?) non-fiction writers become best-sellers because of how they organize and communicate the material. The material is not new, only their way of saying it is.

My learning comes from a myriad of sources, modalities and mentors. I strive to give credit in all cases so that readers may access the source(s) directly. I have benefited from many life pursuits including that of a professional actor. As of now, the primary learning lab is my work as a marketing, recruiting and training coordinator with TeamONE, a group in partnership with Shaklee Corporation. Thus, much reference is made within that context.

I don’t always know what I’m doing nor do I claim to be an expert. I reserve the right to get it wrong and make mistakes. I am figuring it out as I go. I believe there are many roads to greatness, many paths to God. The one that is right, is the one that’s right for you. I endeavor to share what works for me in the hope that others may have an easier road to travel. Simply put, my intention is to be an illuminator of possibilities. Shine on! ~ Kim