I’ve been having a bit of fun recently with this subject of dubious market research; so much so in fact that this week’s winner is not even market research. But whoever wrote the text below has such an amazing command of the English language that they should be given a medal – a gold medal with a citation for extreme obfuscation. The text below refers to a product from AirSavings for sending retail shopping offers.  

In tests carried out during February and March 2009, more than 300,000 limited-time invitations were sent to Atlas-Blue passengers who had expressed interest in receiving special offers from the carrier. The initial response generated nearly 45 percent more income than the airline’s ancillary revenue staple—travel insurance—would have generated from the same number of passengers purchasing directly on the airline’s web site.

Did you pick up the clever use of being taken to a conclusion that is not actually stated. Chances are you thought that the airline made 45% more money in total on this than they make on travel insurance. If this was true, it would indeed be amazing news. But read it again. There is a very clever use of throwing in the big number of 300,000 but this is a red herring as all the paragraph really says is that the commission for the airline from one sale of the new product is 45% greater than they receive from the sale of one insurance policy. There is nothing there saying how many of the 300,000 offers sent actually converted for the airline. On first reading you just assume something that is not actually written.

So rather than me being critical, today it is hats off and congratulations for such a clever piece of writing.

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