Monday, December 19, 2011

What is in a guarantee? or Do you hear what is said or what you want to hear?

As I slept with the television on overnight I experienced some dynamic and somewhat cryptic dreams for which I seemingly had no control. I awoke from being in a library lecture hall where the subject was various types of body hair removal. Discussion of depilatories, electric shavers, razors and etc went on ad nausea. Many of the attendees cheered the results of the new product being promoted but I had no such excitement.

Television guides indicating a broadcaster as being "Science" or "Comedy" should be viewed much as one would a long-term weather forecast -- subject to change. So as I awaken to the headset clad beauty-queen wannabe with the pasted on make-up and chemically treated teeth that nearly outshine the over lit set touting this "breakthough" product I try to orient myself. It is then that the commercial goes to a commercial break.

In actuality the infomercial had ended which was a nice thing. So, before I can change the channel to something intellectually stimulating, or at least informative of something worthy of my attention, on pops a pimple-faced teen doting his face with some cream that gives him the appearance of having many miniature cupcake tops on his face.

The product is an acne treatment system named Proactive. The impetus for this posting is the guarantee offered by Proactive -- You will see results or your money back.

What they are hoping for is that the viewer hears "This is guaranteed to work as we have demonstrated or we will refund your payment." What I hear is in sharp contrast to that -- "Kiss your money goodbye you desperate sucker!"

Marketing often relies upon a visceral reaction to help you part with your money. So, it is important that you make decisions based upon logic and understand what the advertiser is saying. Proactive has claimed that "you will see results or your money back".

To properly examine this guarantee I will start with the word "results" as a noun -- that is the promised objective. Here is a definition of "results" -- something that happens as a consequence; outcome.

Here are some potential outcomes of applying a topical ointment to your face -- Pseudoporphyria, Urticaria, and a really adventurous outcome called Stevens Johnson Syndrome. It is a very rare, acute, serious, and potentially fatal skin reaction in which there is sheet-like skin and mucosal loss. Using current definitions, it is usually, possibly always, caused by medications.

The acne going away is a result. Getting a deadly skin reaction is a result. Essentially Proactive is guaranteeing that you will experience something between death or a completely clear face or you will get your money returned. That is where the analysis of that guarantee ends. Some guarantee!!!!

It is important that when engaging in any contractual agreement that you understand the terms. This is a dynamic that I often experience with parents going through child custody battles. They often hear what they want to hear instead of what is actually said, which can be very costly -- financially and emotionally.

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©2008, 2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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