Male Underwear: Marketing the male package 10 – Big claims, small response, and the consequence of ignoring a potential customer

January 25, 2008


Back in November I found an underwear advert from AsdruMark that I thought was making big claims without evidence.

Time for an update.

Now broadcasting icon Jeremy Paxman has complained about underwear, (inter)national awareness is up and it’s safe for men to come out of the top drawer.

The advert text has changed. Here’s before and after.

Old New
ASDRUMARK. Bring to you ‘Internationally acclaimed’ and ‘award winning’ designer underwear from Mundo Unico. Two unique collections are produced each year offering collectable designs which are taking the UK by storm owing to their comfort, quality and design comparable to none. The unique suspensor design promotes male fertility. ASDRUMARK Bring to you internationally acclaimed and ‘award winning’ designer underwear from Mundo Unico. The ‘suspensor’ designed by Mundo Unico offers support and comfort second to none. Each Collection surpasses the last and has something for everyone and every taste. The ‘suspensor’ design helps Spermatogenesis.
(info on where to, how to get them is much the same)
GQ Magazine, UK edition,
Dec 2007, page 388.
GQ Magazine, UK edition,
Jan 2008, page 250;
Feb 08, page 195.

But what difference do the changes make?

Removal of the quotation marks around “internationally acclaimed”, that’s fine. Though now not ironic, I do still wonder how we can know that the underwear is internationally acclaimed?

However, the quotes are still there around ‘award winning’. Why? What is an ‘award’ that can be ‘won’? Marketing blurb or not, they’ve either won at least one award or they haven’t. Okay, it’s a short ad in a small space, but why doesn’t the website say what this ‘award winning’ is?

The Collection blurb is fine. I now understand that there are people who collect underwear. I wonder if it’s like haute couture, where clothes are tax-deductible if given to a museum (in applicable tax jurisdictions). However, selling used underwear on e-Bay is not permitted.

The blurb about the comfort and support of the design is fine, although whether they work for an individual will depend on body shape. Besides, it would hardly make sense for them to say the underwear is uncomfortable, or to be the butt of publicity like Paxman’s about the lack of support and gusset anxiety.

But it’s still the headline claim that bothers me. “The unique suspensor design promotes male fertility” has evolved into “The ‘suspensor’ design helps Spermatogenesis.”

Replacing fertility with spermatogenesis seems neat. A nice, fancy medical term, it’s just got to impress people, knowing it’s the “process by which male spermatogonia develop into mature spermatozoa”.

Indeed the Unico Design Theory quoted on AsdruMark’s site may mean the product “gives anatomical positioning to the penis and testicles while keeping separation between the body and the genitals allowing a lower testicular temperature in order to help spermatogenesis.”

The theory may well be appropriate (what I’ve read says it is, so I’m not disputing theory). It’s the evidence I want.

This still looks like a MEDICAL claim. Drug literature has to be really careful about medical claims. See, in the UK, Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory Agency(MRHA), A guide to what is a medicinal product (2007). In the US, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will deal with this.

So I don’t see how underwear can get away with this. How many more sperm will a man produce and how much better in quality? And if I’m not mistaken, improving healthy sperm production is an important claim to those who care! And indeed, medical devices have legislation and guidance, look down for Medical Devices Directive (MRHA website). The MDD even covers first aid bandages.

The one amusement I can pull out of this is the spelling of Spermatogenesis with capital S. Imagine the (Greek?) football team Spermatogenesis, playing in white – home or away -, running out onto the pitch.

By comparison, in the same January issue of GQ (page 113, if you care), head & shoulders ran and ad “for blokes who love a result”, making a claim “for outstanding dandruff protection and a difference you can see and feel.” This was supported by – in very, very small print, but it was still there – “Claim based on visibility of flakes at 2 feet when used regularly.” Arguably short on detail, but you could at least see what they were aiming at.

Okay, AsdruMark’s is a small print ad, not so much space.

Still nothing on the website.

So I emailed AsdruMark. Twice. I even invited them to comment on this series of posts. It seemed polite to invite response to public criticism.

No reply. Not a shred about the suspensor design and spermatogenesis, nor about “internationally acclaimed” and “‘award winning'”.

The acclaim and awards should have been easy to answer. For the design claim, even I’d found out there was a doctor involved in the design.

The lack of knowledgeable response is poor product awareness. The lack of response at all is poor customer service.

And for that, AsdruMark, in my home country, lost my business.

If AsdruMark respond, I’ll publish.

And in turn for that Steven Even, in the USA, got my business. Like Paxman not telling what underwear he bought (Yes, you should read that story!), neither am I, nor even if I bought any. I did get a couple of really nice t-shirts though. There was a problem with the online ordering process. However, their Customer Service people answered my emails, sorted it out politely, without fuss and in my favour.That’s what I expect. Don’t you?

This entry is part of the Male Underwear: Marketing the Male Package & Mundo Unico Series.

Package 9 – Buying Mundo Unico online

Package 11 – Advertising and reality


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