Friday, December 8, 2006

Product of the year?

One of the problems of working from home, is watching appaling day-time television, and - worse - even more appaling adverts. One of the more appaling adverts if for a shampoo product 'Herbal Essences' which - the advert triumphantly informs us - was "voted product of the year 2006, by 12,000 consumers".

This initially sounds pretty impressive. 12,000 people have tried various products and decided that Herbal Essence was clearly the best shampoo on the market, right? Right?

This would be a rather boring blog if its first entry was to say that Herbal Essence is the best shampoo on the market, now, wouldn't it.

At the bottom of the final show in the advert is a link to the Product of the Year web-site, which was just begging to be visited by someone who is bald, and therefore has no use of hair-care products.

The site is somewhat bizzare, as it appears to be, principally, a corporate product - not something one would normally expect to be pointed to by a shampoo advert - and also strangely revealing as to how someone would win the award. The process appears to be:

1) To get your product nominated, you send in an application form. Any product that has been launched within the past 18 months can be nominated. Note that it is the company manufacturing the product that nominates it for an award

2) The product of the year jury then draws up lists of finalists, and determines which category your product would go in to should yours be selected. There's just one catch. If your product goes forward, it costs you £3,950. No, there's two catches: every year the categories available change, and - the website assures us - each category will contain between 2 and 6 entries.

3) Now the real part - the public votes! Yay public! There is, however, a catch. According to the site, a questionnaire is sent out to some 20,000 people of which - last year - 12,593 responded. There's some discrepency here too: The choosing the winners link assures the would-be product of the year winner that the questionaire will be sent to "more than 12,000 households", from which 60% can be expected to respond. Quite how this tallies with the earlier 12,593 I'm not certain.

Now here's the clever part: The questionnaire contains "colour photos of all the products in each category with an explanation of what they are used for and why they are innovative".

In other words, Herbal Essence is voted product of the year, by people who have not necessarially ever used it.

Oh.  And there's just one more catch: If you win, it'll cost you another 11 grand to advertise
the fact. 

No comments: