Several years ago in Germany, Clairol created a curling iron called the “Mist Stick”. The funny thing is – in German – the English word ‘Mist’ is slang for manure – like cow manure. Needless to say, Clairol didn’t sell many Manure Sticks in Germany and eventually had to drop the campaign.
There are many other branding blunders that I could share from popular companies that we all know and love. However, the truth is that most companies have gotten pretty sophisticated when it comes to writing marketing copy and producing creative concepts.
In the hair industry (and several others), there is a recent trend that is highly effective because of the implied meaning of the phraseology.
Check out this sample marketing phraseology from a hair product manufacturer:
Note: The slogan has been tweaked slightly to maintain anonymity – because the intent of this article is not to call out a product manufacturer.
“Organic hair products are purely manufactured with all-natural plant ingredients which nourish, stabilize, and moisturize your hair while not damaging your hair follicles.”
That marketing slogan implies a very specific meaning to many people, but actually means something completely different. I’ll explain.
Many people believe that organic hair products are automatically better than other hair products – therefore, you should only use organic hair products.
The following statement might surprise you: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have an official definition of the term organic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages a “National Organic Program” that includes some basic defining characteristics of the term organic.
In order for a product to be considered “organic”, it must be produced using approved methods (organic production methods) and not contain synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge (yuck!) or irradiation. It is important to note that genetic modification is also prohibited.
Here are a few notes about organic products that might surprise you:
- In order to use the slogan, “Made with Organic Ingredients” – only 70% of the product must be made using organic ingredients. To use the official USDA Organic Seal, 95% of the product ingredients must be organic. Finally, the term “100% organic” means exactly what it implies; all included ingredients conform to organic production methods.
Hair products that use organic verbiage can still contain very harmful ingredients that are bad for your hair. The primary takeaway from this article is that “organic” ingredients are NOT always better for your hair than ingredients made from non-organic sources. The real truth is a substance that is harmful to your hair is still harmful, regardless of whether it was prepared using organic production methods or not.