The winners of the annual Wacky Warning Labels contest, currently in its 15th year, were announced earlier today by the Center for America
(CFA), a non-profit organization that works to reduce barriers to free enterprise.
The contest itself was conceived by CFA Senior Fellow Bob Dorigo Jones
, a writer and weekly radio host of “Let’s Be Fair!.”
Jones, also the author of, The 101 Stupidest, Silliest and Wackiest Warning Labels Ever
, says the contest was initially created to highlight "Absurd and silly labels," that manufacturers feel compelled to use to protect themselves against abusive litigation by "a lawsuit-happy culture."
Some of this year's winning labels, (sent in by members of the public who receive cash prizes), tend to state the obvious ... at least to anyone with a shred of commonsense. But in some cases, the label descriptions are so polar opposite to the product, that any sane consumer must wonder why the manufacturer even bothered to make it.
Take the second-prize label winner for example, found on an electric razor for men by consumer Dave Woehrer, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It read, "Never use while sleeping." Thank goodness straight razors in homes are mostly antiquated and Sweeney Todd is a fictional character.
Behind the razor, in third place, was a neck pillow that is marketed for children but informed parents to, "Keep product away from infants and children." This item – I'm certain – remained firmly on the shelf tucked between the Laptop Steering Wheel Desk that told folks, "Never use this product while driving", and the electric griddle skillet whose "Surface may be hot during and after cooking."
But the first place prize, (submitted by Kelly Watson of Winona, Texas), was a real humdinger. Are people truly this 'challenged?' The Grand Prize-winning label (earning Kelly $1,000), went to a 7-inch decorative world globe with the warning, "These globes should not be referred to for navigation." I guess
it's a vast improvement over a former label pasted onto a brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook that warned, "Harmful if swallowed?"
It all seems in good humor, but founder Bob Dorigo Jones suggests the contest is also meant to educate and carry a message. The radio host explained in a PR Newswire
press release that growing trends in consumer behavior this year, seem to show, that scary labels are actually putting people off buying certain products.
"Whether it be 'risk of fire' warnings on a heating pad that causes an elderly woman to forego the product," Jones said, or "when people stop taking physician-prescribed medication because they fear the warnings," then "changes in consumer behavior have both economic and serious quality of life results," warned Jones .
What do you think?
I can't help wondering what would happen if I threw the baby out with the bathwater?
Warning: Sarcasm intended.