Less is More?

Does bad grammar darken your day when you hear it on TV? This ad for L’Oréal Youth Code, a skin-care product, makes me see spots whenever it’s aired.

My first reaction was to the choice of “less” instead of “fewer.” However, the more I listened to it, the greater my suspicion grew that perhaps the writers chose “less” deliberately to confuse viewers as to the actual benefits of the product.

Are users seeing “fewer dark spots” (presumably the end result desired by consumers) or are the spots merely “less dark” and thus still hanging around? Here’s the clip. What do you think?

By the way, here’s what Grammar Girl, who always says “No” to bad usage, suggests regarding “less” versus “fewer.”

2 thoughts on “Less is More?

  1. As a middle-aged woman I’m starting to become really annoyed by commercials like this in general—all these 22-year-olds with flawless skin complaining about their flawless skin!

    After viewing the clip I’m also not sure exactly what was meant by the ad; it could well be a deliberately murky message.
    One thing I do know is that I would like to see less fuss made over the relentless pursuit of youth, and fewer women shelling out hundreds (thousands?) of dollars for these mostly worthless skin products!

    • Hi Rita,

      I’m with you. Even the anti-aging makeup commercials seem to use 20-year-olds.

      One of the nice things about getting older (and, I hope, wiser) is that I’ve accumulated not just dark spots, but the ability to discern when ads are overselling certain product benefits!

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