"In a blind, head-to-head taste test, people chose Tweedledee two to one over Tweedledum."
Proving what? The advertising copy seems to say this 'proves' Tweedledee is better than Tweedledum. Therefore you ought to buy Tweedledee. These comparison tests are inflicted on us by brands and their slippery marketing consultants so they can both sway Tweedledum users to consider buying Tweedledee and confirm to Tweedledee lovers that they made the right choice all along.
Can’t argue with a scientific test, right? Not so fast. Let’s take a look at the typical consumer test…Pepsi vs Coke, Prego vs Ragu, Rocco's Gelato vs Fred's Gelato and so forth.
The methodology: In a double-blind test, one product is labeled “A” and the other is labeled “B”. Neither the consumer nor the tester knows which product is which. Sounds fair, no? No. Meet the A/B Ruse.
It’s the oldest trick in the book, a carnival game, a first-class deception, a marketing strategy used by charlatans. Here’s how it works: “A” ALWAYS WINS! Not only does “A” always win, but the percentages remain remarkably consistent. About 70% - 30% give or take a couple of points (as long as you test at least 200 subjects).
Why? Simple. In our culture “A” has a better connotation than “B”. “A” is first class, highest quality. “B” is the also ran. If you get a B on your math test instead of an A, do you feel elated? You want to be on the A-List. Second-rate films are referred to as “B” movies. In people’s minds “A” is always superior to “B”.
This has been proven over and over again by “testing” identical products with the A and B labels. The same soda in each cup, the same pasta sauce in each bowl, the same cookie on each plate… "A" always wins. When teaching a Consumer Economics course, we did a taste test with orange juice. First we labeled one juice "A", and it won. Then we tested a second group of subjects where we labeled the winning juice "B", and it lost. By almost the exact same margin.
If you’re truly doing a scientific test, you’d label the products 36GTD121 and 36SRN276. Now you have a great chance of coming up with a valid result. But why would companies spend good money on a test that isn’t rigged totally in their favor? They wouldn’t.
So, if you’re involved in marketing and you’re seeking a way to differentiate your product from that of your competitor, resist the temptation to “fake it” by reverting to the old A/B Ruse. It’s a game you don’t want to play.