Fake market research for ads


Mitsuo Shiota


November 21, 2022

An advertisement on Nikkei newspaper, published in Tokyo in the evening of November 18, 2022, caught my eye. It was a full page ad by Euglena Co. Ltd. on its supplement product. As I had some doubts on the company, I read the ad and found an annoying assertion.

It asserts the product was rated as No.1 (top 1) both in supplements medical workers recommend, and in supplements registered dietitians want to drink every day. It displays the source is the survey on supplements done by Japan Marketing Research Organization, Inc. in October 2021.

Japan Marketing Research Organization, Inc. is selling “No.1 survey” service, so that advertisers can evade accusation of misleading representations (Japanese).

“No.1 survey” is not a genuine survey, but a fake, claims Japan Marketing Research Association (Japanese), which is an association of marketing research firms. Japan Marketing Research Organization, Inc. is not a member of Japan Marketing Research Association.

NHK broadcast a program (Japanese) on this issue on May 17, 2022.

Anything can be made No.1 by biased samples and arbitrary definitions. I feel sad about “No.1 survey” and advertisers who use it, as marketing research is one of the important applications of statistics.