Quackery adopting the ResearchBlogging iconography?
July 22, 2010
..the world’s only drink guaranteed to make you feel great! Our all natural blend of herbs and aminos is Dr. formulated and proven to promote relaxation, improve mental focus and even boost your mood!
Dirk made some crack about this being an alcohol enhancer and, fascinatingly, the website for this product has a whole page for cocktail recipes. Mood enhancing, healthy…and a mixer! Oh joy…
At any rate, I was searching for the Quack Miranda Warning when I clicked on the “Lab” page and I immediately noticed something funny. An icon right in the middle of the page is linked to the ingredients page which says the product contains:
four primary ingredients found in nature, all of which have been subjected to molecular research and clinical studies. These components are Valerian Root, Aminobutyric acid (GABA), Theanine and 5-HTP.
Oh this is a classic of misdirection and insinuation isn’t it? “Molecular research” and “clinical studies” eh? Yet I bet not one single clinical study showing that this product has the benefits that they claim. Just guessin there. Anyway I’d best leave the quack busting to the real experts like PalMD and Abel Pharmboy, so let’s return to the iconography.
That icon, linked to their supposed evidence mind you, reminded me of this ResearchBlogging.org icon. When you put them together like this it is obvious that the Mini Chill icon is not an exact duplicate. But still. It evokes the ResearchBlogging icon, does it not? Surely this is not just me?
If you will recall the ResearchBlogging icon is the descendant of a prior icon. The goal of this icon was, of course, to evoke rapid identification with the intent of ResearchBlogging.org itself. I.e., to form a sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval that the post you were reading met certain basic standards.
If this is not simply a coincidence, I find it really interesting that some quack product would try to coopt the authority of ResearchBlogging.org. Among other things it would seem that marketing donks think that the ResearchBlogging.org is actually meaningful to people. That’s good at least.
I never did find the Quack Miranda Warning.