Space City Skeptics

The Official Blog of the Houston Skeptic Society

Alternative Medicine Gimmick of the Week #1: Pen Power!…..

with 2 comments

Pen Power!!!

Pen Power!!!

 

According to the website for this product, a pen which represents a spine bent by chiropractic subluxations,

“the “Subluxated Pen” is a trusted and proven way to promote your practice. Your personalized information is imprinted on the bent part of the pen. The bend in the pen attracts attention in a unique, fun and powerful way. Using the Bent Pen is the inexpensive and professional method for building your patient community.”

 The manufacturers of this promotional product tout the results of a 2008 study performed by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) which appear to show that Bent Pens are “the most effective and least expensive form of advertising.” I noticed some shady business when comparing the provided information on the website and the actual report from ASI. Most importantly, the report only mentions writing instruments. It does not specifically look into the effectiveness of Bent Pens themselves. That may not be a distinction that matters, but it could be that people don’t like novelty writing instruments with caps, instead preferring conventional click-top pens. It is unfair to make claims about a specific product based on the data. Despite this fact, the graph used by H.W. Industries on the Bent Pen website, which compares the cost per impression of Bent Pens (using the data based on writing instruments in general) with such advertising entities as magazine ads, prime time television spots and billboards, is made to look as if it came directly from the study. It did not. There is a section which lists the cost per impression of various types of advertising, however. In it, one can easily see that writing instruments, while cheap compared to national magazine ads for example, are no better than caps or bags in this regard.  

In addition to the misleading graph, there is a section on the website which is cut and paste verbatim from the ASI study summary of conclusions. Well, almost verbatim. It curiously left out the part which revealed that of all the studied promotional products, wearable bags delivered the most impressions. The same wearable bags which had an equal cost per impression to writing instruments. Writing instruments provided only the fourth highest number of impressions per month. I guess Bent Bags are too difficult for even chiropractic technology to produce though. Of course a better form of advertising might be actually treating a legitimate medical problem.

To be entirely fair, H.W. Industries is not a chiropractic practice building company. They just seem to sell gimmicky crap, and they are apparantly no less concerned about twisting data to improve their profits than chiropractors are. But I probably shouldn’t be making fun of this at all considering I hand out fetus shaped keychain flashlights.

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Written by skepticpedi

May 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I can see why this article and therefore it’s author has no likes- zilch, nada, zero, gornisht. Friend of the friendless. This guy goes from attempting to demean a pen company, and then insulting the chiropractic profession. A real class act if I say so myself.

    David Reich

    October 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm

  2. Well, except the author moved on and is a major contributor to Science Based Medicine blog, https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/, which is a top-rated blog and gets tens of thousands of views per day. He’s quoted in magazines and is interviewed about real medicine, all the time.

    Geek Goddess

    November 11, 2015 at 8:35 am


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