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  1. #1

    CaldwellYSR's Avatar
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    Legality of Commercials
    This is a bit of a rant but it comes to a point. The main question is last so if you don't feel like reading the rest of it feel free to skip below

    I'm aware that this country was bought and paid for a long time ago by big companies. So even though I understand how this pet peeve of mine is allowed to happen, I'm still curious about the legality of it all. So I'm wasting my life and my health away on the couch watching ESPN when a commercial comes on about high school dropouts. (Rather funny commercial since Lebron James is the one talking and he skipped college for the NBA but anyways...) He says 7000 kids drop out of school every school day. Now I have a VERY hard time believing that is true, but for the sake of this argument I will let that slide. He continues to say "that is 26 students per second".

    What?!

    Now LeBron didn't go to college but it doesn't take really difficult arithmetic to figure out that 7000 students a day does NOT in any way result in 26 students per second. If you take a 24 hr day you have:

    7000 per day / 24 hrs in a day = 291.66... per hr
    291.66... / 60 min in an hour = 4.8611... per min
    4.8611... / 60 sec in a min = 0.08101852 per second.
    Well 0.081 students per second doesn't come anywhere near 26 per second! "Well a school day isn't 24 hours long and they clearly said 7000 per school day!" is one response I got when I brought this up around the people I was watching tv with. So let's check THAT math then.

    7000 per day / 7 hrs in a school day = 1000 per hr
    1000 per hour / 60 min in an hour = 16.666... per minute (uh oh)
    16.666... per min / 60 seconds in a min = 0.2777... per second.
    Yep.... 0.28 per second. That's alot closer to 26 per second but still NOWHERE NEAR IT!!! It's blatant misinformation just to make their cause more powerful and their message more clear.

    Now...

    I picked a bad commercial to pick on because they have a good message. We need to help these kids so we don't have so many drop outs because there are alot of dropouts and I bet legitimate statistics show that a good number of those dropouts don't lead very successful lives after they drop out. That being said this one stuck out to me because of how blatant it is and how easy it is to disprove. So...

    TLR see question below

    Is it really LEGAL for companies to get away with completely false statistics? It seems to me that it should not be.



  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Yes . . .it is apparently totally legal to be terrible at math, unless you're dealing with the IRS.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Without knowing the methodology and values, it's hard to say that they're lying. For all we know, the statistic is valid with their chosen method and data.

    Also, I'm not sure why LeBron is an inappropriate choice - he didn't drop out of anything. On top of that, only 63% of high school graduates go on to university in the United States (2008, source). It's not as if he were an anomaly.
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  4. #4

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    It's hard to see what kind of statistics and assumptions they could have used . . . 26 per second is almost 94,000 per hour.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  5. #5

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Or 15,724,800 a week!

    You know what they say about statistics Caldwell.

    To quote my favorite US author Mark Twain 'There are lies, ****ed lies and statistics'!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_*...and_statistics

    In the 1800's he visited my home town of Newcastle NSW Australia and described it 'An interesting town with one main road, a hospital at one end and a cemetery at the other'!
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  6. #6

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    It's hard to see what kind of statistics and assumptions they could have used . . . 26 per second is almost 94,000 per hour.
    I'm not defending their statistics (far from it) but I'm certain that they could find some statistics to corroborate their argument. If you look hard enough, you can find anything.
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  7. #7

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    the people's, they can not do the maths.
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  8. #8

    CaldwellYSR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
    I'm not defending their statistics (far from it) but I'm certain that they could find some statistics to corroborate their argument. If you look hard enough, you can find anything.
    That's what I have the problem with though... I don't see how that could be legal (besides the fact that big companies own us).

    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith
    Also, I'm not sure why LeBron is an inappropriate choice...
    Not really inappropriate, just funny to me. Especially after the interview where he botched what he was trying to say and dismissed it saying "I didn't go to college" I'm sure he's an intelligent guy it just tickled my funny bone to see him doing the commercial that's all.



  9. #9

    louishen's Avatar
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    Well, I listen to a lot od US podcasts which have commercials (not having a go at then good old USA by the way), but a load of them make some pretty dubious claims, especially on health ground that would simply not be allowed here in Europe.

    It would seem that the US advertising watchdog has had most of it's teeth cut out, since in the UK at least, running any ad with dubious claims would get you a desist order pretty **** quick.

    Just one example, an ad for alkalized supplements running on a US podcast claims all sorts diseases can be cured by taking their PH altering supplements, including the claim that bacteria and viruses cannot survice in a high alkaline environment.

    The above statement is true, but not accurate.

    For a start, if you take alkaline substances orally, the best that they can do is settle some stomach acid. Your body will soon settle your digestive tract back to its natural balance.

    Secondly, that alkaline will be neutralised by your body to take your bloodstream etc back to its comfort zone, which is pretty dran close to a PH neutral level. If your body fluids ever start to become very alkaline, then you will be in a pretty life threatening state.

    So the idea that an alkaline additive can do much more that settle some bad stomach acid is peddling bad science and giving people an idea that they can protect against disease with no foundation in fact.

    That's just one example, bad statistics and evidence made up by the marketing department should not be allowed period. Unless you can prove any advertising claims that are masquerading as evidence, then you shouldn't try and use so called evidence to sell products.

    Its OK to sell someone a lifestyle or a dream, but don't try and dress it as science based research.

    Just a bit of a rant there from someone who just can't bear the use of pseudo science to peddle rubbish products
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  10. #10

    CaldwellYSR's Avatar
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    I agree with you 100% louishen



  11. #11

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louishen View Post
    That's just one example, bad statistics and evidence made up by the marketing department should not be allowed period. Unless you can prove any advertising claims that are masquerading as evidence, then you shouldn't try and use so called evidence to sell products.
    Therein lies the problem. Two different statisticians can use the same data set and come up with different results. Numbers, despite beliefs to the contrary, aren't neutral when used to make a point. One group making ostensibly false claims can back up their results with seemingly credible statistical tests.
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  12. #12

    CaldwellYSR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
    Therein lies the problem. Two different statisticians can use the same data set and come up with different results. Numbers, despite beliefs to the contrary, aren't neutral when used to make a point. One group making ostensibly false claims can back up their results with seemingly credible statistical tests.
    I get what your'e saying here, and it's very true that they can use numbers to make a point but they can't do it honestly. They're using numbers to make it look like they're proving what they're saying but it's rarely true. Deception is wrong, especially if they're using "facts" to deceive people.



  13. #13

    XJ-linux's Avatar
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    Intentional deceit for future gain and profit is part of the human experience. Some might say it's what separates us from many of the other animals. One might say that some industries and special interests merely have better lobbyists. As always, Caveat Emptor... keeping you safe and informed is your job in the end.
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
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  14. #14

    baggss's Avatar
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    Statistics can be used and misused in many ways.

    For example, the US calculates it's unemployment rate by how many people are on or apply for aid from the government on a quarterly basis. While that is not a bad thing to track it completely ignores those who have run out of aid but are still unemployed. The official numbers hover around ~8% but the real numbers are likely half again if not double that. The numbers are not an outright lie, just a mischaracterization or perhaps "not the whole truth".

    Another example is PC vs Mac market-share. Macs always lose. Why? Because they track the number of machines sold and the OS they use, not the number in actual use. While the actual numbers would be higher for the Mac it would still lose the but percentage, and thus the perception, might be different.


  15. #15

    CaldwellYSR's Avatar
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    Yes they can be misused but it seems like it shouldn't be legal for people to misuse them like that. Not telling the whole truth is just as deceitful as telling a complete and total lie.

    And for the record, to me, saying 7000 students per day == 26 students per second is a complete and boldfaced lie. There's no feeble deception involved.



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