FDA: Popular Mouthwashes Make False Claims

Credence issues don’t come up much in product marketing, they are generally reserved for services. Usually selecting packaged consumer goods is straightforward with a WYSIWYG attitude guiding consumer choices. For marketers, this usually means focusing on brand values or a penetration pricing approach, with marketing strategies that highlight the product’s search qualities.

This incident brings light to a class of consumer goods that breaks from this tradition. A marketing plan for gum-disease- fighting-mouthwash is successful because consumers (including me) buy-into the promise that over time and repeat applications the product will prevent a disease, but the user can not prove or disprove that. They have to trust the promise.

There is a whole category of credence products that we use and as consumers, we can not prove or disprove marketing claims: vitamins & drugs, health foods (remember the oat craze?), “sustainably harvested” products (how do you define sustainable?), cleaning agents…

FDA: Popular Mouthwashes Make False Claims.


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