Top8 Bullshit Tactic: Statistics On Steroids

Saturday, 5 February 2011

(Author's Note:  This post is male friendly)

I have been absent just a teeny bit while.
Not that I have been lazy, but my writing seems to have momentarily lost its mojo.  Could be PMS.   And I refuse to post anything substandard so I slightly lowered my standard at least for now.
Anyway, back from a great party!   The Liberty Ball 2011- so great that I had to commemorate this post’s picture to it – even as the Ball organized by a very good friend of mine, the fabulous James Rogers
doesn’t have anything to do with the bullshit I am about to divulge to you. 
On to today's business of bullshit-
Those who have read my past posts would know of my –
Top Ten Bullshit Countdown aka the top ten tricks I use to make you spend money. 
These are so far :
and now on to number 8-

Top 8 Bullshit Tactic: Shoot my Statistics with steroids
It is a scientifically proven fact*  that if I give two descriptions and one is supported by statistics, no matter how ambiguous the words that accompany those numbers- you will find the numbered description- more credible.
(*just google it- there must be some other asshole who claims that crap out there)
For example,  Consider this-
"This lipstick has so much moisture that you’ll need Baywatch to rescue your lips from drowning"
Against this-
"98% of women found a 30% difference in moisture even 6 hrs after application"
See what I mean?
Also, of course because we do know Baywatch does not rescue drowning lips.

Magical- yet, so easy to do.

Give me any crappy product and I can weave a convincing steroid shot statistic about it.
Just a good sized panel and lots of ambiguity.
First- I choose a big enough panel (a group of testers) so that even if I get 1 or 2 negative answers, the % of positives is still a high enough number.  
To illustrate-
  • In a panel of 6, if 2 said no – that means 4/6 or 67% positive feedback.  Not good.
  • In a panel of 10, if 2 said no- that means 8/10 or 80% postive feedback.  Good but not high enough.
  • In a panel of 20, if 2 said no- that means 18/20 or 90% positive feedback.  That is good!
So, my panel size has to be at least 20. Can be much more but that unnecessarily increases my costs.

Then, I ask my panel an ambiguous question where a positive answer is almost inevitable.

For example-

Lab Tech :  Did you notice a difference in moisture of your lips when you applied the lipstick.
Tester  1    :   Well... just very slightly.
Lab Tech :  So, that's a yes.  Thank you.

Lab Tech :  Did you notice a difference in moisture of your lips when you applied the lipstick.
Tester      :   Yes. It felt drier.
Lab tech :    Yes or no only please.  Did you notice a difference?
Tester      :   Yes- but….
Lab Tech : That will be all thank you.
Lab tech writes-
"I therefore conclude that out of  23 women tested, 100% found a difference in their moisture level after lipstick application."

Just how widespread is this bullshit practice?

Well, one of my readers (who I cannot name just yet because I haven’t asked her permission to be quoted and named) working from one famous retail channel has this to say, and i quote …

I work in premium beauty at *** and dealt with clinique, chanel, dior, lauder, clarins, ysl, etc and I felt like I was the only one in all our meetings thinking 'this is bullshit!' when they spouted all of these amazing product claims for their upcoming launches.
When we came to promote their new wonder anti-ageing products, we asked them for clinical trial information since *** has a strict legal department that won't let us say anything unless its been proven.
No clinical trail info ever emerged from any of the brands despite all their assurances that they had been conducted (by them!). I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.
And do you ever wonder, why at this age of high speed information dissemination and transparency, these brands do not publish these clinical tests?

I tell you why-

because it cannot withstand scrutiny.  

My fellow beauty bloggers, want to have a bit of fun seeing your brand names squirm?  
Ask them to publish their tests.  C'mon try it!  
It will be like asking that supposed "single" suitor of yours to see his flat.  Heehee.  

Now, though statistic-steroid-shooting biatch I may be, do not be too hasty to cast that stone.
As there is this wonderful thing called the placebo effect working for you, me and the good of all mankind.   So long as you believe, so shall it be- why else do you think religion is so popular.

And so, your lips will feel drowning in moisture as my statistic suggested it would be.

Who's your beauty messiah?  Who is?

Most of you may not know and I will take this chance to brag about it - that this may be the only beauty blog that attracts real hetero non-makeup wearing male readers.  It could perhaps be due to my infallible unisex logic or the fact that I swear a lot.  But I am pretty sure it is not because of my modesty.
Since we are on the subject of bragging- I was named best beauty blogger by a Finnish newspaper.  At least, that is what google translate said.  Heehee.  Thank you! 
Anyways – male readers, before you snicker at our feminine foibles, do not even think that you are exempt from this placebo effect of shoddy statistics.
See exhibit 1 here, something from the film Anchorman, based on a true story. 
Placebo effect:   "60% of the time, it works everytime!"

Exhibit 1: Hetero male under placebo effect