Centrum and Truth in Advertising
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.
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 truthful 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!