Marketing moves the goalposts again.

To start with, let’s take a look at this ingredient label for a Nestlé’s Toll House Cookie:


Amounts per serving:

Calories 130
Fat Calories 60
Total fat 6g (9% Daily Value)
Saturated Fat 4g (20% Daily Value)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 7g (7% Daily Value)
Sodium 100mg (4% Daily Value)
Total Carbohydrates 16g (5% Daily Value)
Fiber: Nothing
Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
And a few vitamins.
The DV (Daily Value) amounts are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now, what you may or may have not noticed is that these values are for one serving. Well, there’s one cookie in the pack right? But many people will gloss over the fact that there are approximately four servings per package, and that one serving is calculated at ¼ cookie.

So let’s recalculate the information if you eat the entire cookie at one sitting, which the vast majority of people will do:

Calories 520 (about ¼ of your daily total)
Fat Calories 240
Total fat 24g (36% Daily Value)
Saturated Fat 16g (80% Daily Value)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 28g (28% Daily Value)
Sodium 400mg (16% Daily Value)
Total Carbohydrates 64g (20% Daily Value)
Fiber: Nothing
Sugars 36g
Protein 8g
And a few vitamins.
The DV (Daily Value) amounts are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

So this monster accounts for a quarter of your daily intake of calores, almost all your allowance of saturated fat, 1/3 your allowance of total fat, and 1/5 your carbohydrate intake. In other words, it’s death for your health, and Nestlé doesn’t dare admit it straight up.

Question: How can you tell when a marketer is lying?
Answer: His lips are moving

I remember when I was a kid, the candy bars you bought started getting smaller and smaller, even though the cardboard trays that were wrapped around them stayed the same size – and that was in the 50’s. Since I’ve been alive, marketing has been a neverending race to the bottom in terms of morality, ethicality and honor.

An article on KSL today highlights how the marketing bar has been lowered at least another notch: A lady was delighted when shopping at a trendy jeans store to find she had dropped a size, but when she went to the website to order another pair, she followed a link that mentioned “updated sizes;” it turns out old size 10s were now 8s, the old 6s are now 4s, and so on. The author of the article makes some good points about how marketing drives consumer spending habits, among them:

I had let the label of an article of clothing dictate not only my spending habits, but how I felt about myself. Those moments when I congratulated myself over how I looked in those new jeans were false.

I’ve mentioned the tactics of persuasion elsewhere, but consumers who want to shepherd their dollars carefully need to be constantly vigilant, because the marketeers are right on their heels, looking for new ways to separate them from their hard-earned money. If we’re not careful, we’ll return to what must be the undisputed nadir of marketing ethics:

Hall of Shame Advertisement


In case you don’t grok why this advertisement is so shameful, here’s what it says in plain English

  • Throw away your old rabbit ears
  • Buy our rabbit ears, because they’re prettier!
  • You’re not getting satellite service, but in spite of our telling you that straight up, you’re still going to think you are.
  • We’ve told you nothing but the truth, but because you’re stupid and we’ve used a lot of weasel-words, you are getting a completely untruthful idea about our product.
  • Thanks for your money, suckers.

Be careful; it’s a jungle out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

One response to “Marketing moves the goalposts again.

  1. This is part of the reason why people who don’t read for comprehension and understand how to do arithmetic are going to be swindled out of their hard-earned money. Better living through education!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s