My closest Lowe’s store has a new sales floor display, featuring Bosch Driven screwdriver bit sets. Bosch Driven is their very slightly updated line of impact-rated screwdriver bits, advertising 50X life compared to “standard” Bosch bits.
The display also featured a bold claim from someone called @BrettK: Longest Lasting Bits I’ve Ever Used.
Is BrettK a paid Bosch influencer? Are they a contractor? Hobbyist? Are they a tool tester or reviewer that I have never come across before?
Hmm – this @brettk doesn’t seem to have any posts or any followers on Instagram. They’re not on Facebook either.
There is a BrettK on Twitter, but they don’t have any tool-related content on their account at all, at least not that I can see going back a few years before Bosch Driven was ever launched.
Okay, so who exactly is Bosch quoting, and from where?
By quoting “longest lasting bits” and attributing this to a quoted individual, does that mean they can say anything they want?
Bosch has done this before – last November they had a display at Lowe’s stores which featured their pre-Driven line of Impact Tough screwdriver bits.
As an aside, this display says “Bosch 40-pc Impact Ready Modular Screwdriving Set” on the pricing board. It should read Impact Tough, as Stanley Black & Decker owns the Impact Ready trademark under their Dewalt brand (serial no. 77118302). But I digress.
Quoting a @mstiles_1991, this set boldly advertises that it includes the Best Bit Holder on the Market Period.
There are no Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts for this user, at least not that I can find. I did find a similar Instagram name without an underscore, but it’s a private account.
I also tried looking at user reviews at Lowe’s and Bosch’s website, but to no avail.
Giving Bosch the benefit of the doubt, they surely must be quoting user reviews, posts, or comments, but who, and from where? I’ve tried my best, but the claims so far seem to be untraceable. What Bosch could have done is include a shortened link URL or QR code as part of their use of these quoted statements in their advertisements.
Traceability is important, otherwise a brand could potentially quote anything in advertising without it actually being technically or universally true. Right?
In these cases, Bosch’s impact screwdrivers bits might not be the longest lasting, and their bit holder far from the best, but since their advertising is only quoting subjective individual comments, Bosch technically isn’t making objective claims.
Here’s a question – would this advertising tactic be any better even if we could trace the quoted statements or endorsements to their sources?
When a marketing practice is done once, it’s an experiment. When it’s done twice 10 months apart, this usually indicates a new pattern or trend. This one’s peculiar, and I hope it doesn’t become common practice.
Bosch North America has experimented with unconventional marketing strategies before, such as giving their cordless power tools official names like “Freak” and “Hitman.”
The veracity of brands’ advertising claims can usually be tested and verified by competitors, helping to keep everyone in check. But how can that be done when companies and especially consumers cannot trace the quoted statements to check for context or the trustworthiness of the source?
This sounds like that time you bribed your kids with chocolate to vote Toolguyd as best tool news and review site.
Clearly whoever their advertising lead is, is angling for a job in politics….
It doesn’t surprise me at all – my personal experience is that Bosch bits are probably at the bottom of the major brands carried by home improvement stores.
I bought a 15-pack of T25 bits when I helped with installing a new raised deck around a fishing camp and they all started to have severe cam-out problems after 8-10 deck boards (12′ boards, 18″ centers, 16 screws per board), so we’ll say ~150 screws before I had to change bits. I could have written that off as a bad lot of bits, but I also had some T15 trim screws and #2R siding screws to sink and the Bosch bits fared no better in that application.
I had no problems with Ryobi or DeWalt bits that I received from other people working.
I’ve since replaced most of my impact bits with either Milwaukee or DeWalt – whichever I can find on sale in bulk packs at the time I need to order more.
I don’t like it either, but it doesn’t do much for me. Claims in quotes like that immediately make me think it’s pure puffery.
I don’t think it would be better if traceable – it’s not like I’m going to bust out my phone to look up BrettK to see whether I should trust his recommendations. I mean, if it said “‘Best bit holder period’ – Stuart Deutsch” that might be another matter….
On the other hand, I suppose a claim that it’s the “best on the market” might make me think that perhaps it’s not junk, even if I doubt the veracity of the statement overall. Perhaps that’s what they’re going for.
Overall though, I think the quotation marks might as well be an asterisk – I assume something dubious is going on as soon as I see them.
Can you find an equivalent display at any other store chain at all? Because I’m happy to chalk this up to “Don’t Buy from Lowes, Ever” and keep my stance on Bosch family Blades for my power tools the same. I know Bosch may be the ones that had the display printed, but… Frankly, if this is a Lowes only problem, then there are plenty of other retailers to go to, and that will cost Lowes, and Bosch, for their antics.
It seems the past week or so, you’ve spent a lot of time at Lowes, and it always gets followed with some ridiculous story of sad, pathetic, sales tactics there. At some point, common sense just says “Go Elsewhere, and Don’t Go Back.”
I know I’m not in the US, but at least if the American chains are misbehaving, I can simply go to Canadian Tire, Home Hardware/Home Building Centres, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of independent stores like Atlas Tools and Machinery, and get either better pricing, or better business practices. The fact that there have been so many problems with Lowes just reinforces my urge to leave them flat.
Testimonials are a long-established tradition in marketing. The top tier of testimonials are celebrity endorsements. If, for instance, a motorcycle racer endorses some particular racing product, that might have some credibility but too often you’ve got actors or professional athletes endorsing products that have nothing to do with the endorser’s qualifications. Anonymous or untraceable testimonials are common too and pretty meaningless to me. Everything in marketing should be treated with suspicion .
Give us information on the bits, their quality or lack thereof, availability and pricing. If they represent a good value or if they’re the only product available in a particular class, then perhaps they’re worthy of purchase. I and many others don’t give a darn about endorsements and testimonials, anonymous, untraceable or otherwise.
Perhaps, but “longest lasting bits” is going to influencer consumers’ purchasing decisions; that’s all some people are going to notice, and they might spend money because of it.
If the person making the testimonial has only used Bosch bits, then their statement is completely truthful. Bosch and other companies know what they do and they do it because it works. That’s why marketing claims should be considered lies, half-truths and always manipulative until independently determined to be useful information for making a purchasing decision.
I personally tend to just completely ignore any specifically-advertised reviews or quotes, for this reason. It’s exceptionally easy to cherry pick a review, even easier to cherry pick a part of a review, and make your brand/product/whatever sound good. Linking that back to a verifiable source to me doesn’t matter, because it’s still the brand controlling what they want to put out there. Even if there isn’t nefarious intent or “bought” reviews or whatever, there is always a person that gets exactly what they want out of an item, and other folks who the item was not what they needed in the first place, and both leave reviews that really aren’t useful to the “average” user of the item. Tools are no different, as are these bits. Somebody will have used them and they’ll have accomplished the project, and possibly lasted longer than a set of no-name bits from Amazon, or one of the lower end brands. So they write a review that the Bosch bits were great, lasted a long time, and then Bosch can pull that. Likewise, somebody may have bought these to use in an industrial screwgun and they didn’t last and they leave a scathing review about being horrible, but that really isn’t useful because these aren’t industrial-level bits either.
Poor engagement (either because of bit geometry or poor driving technique) can result in premature bit wear. I suspect that we’ve all had occasions where off-axis driving might have been necessary – or had the screw encounter an obstacle. These examples may have just a great an impact on bit longevity as bit quality.
I also wonder why no one talks about how well their bits fit and engage. I understand that there may be lots of variability in the tolerance of bit recesses from manufacturer to manufacture – but I know that our guys often complained that brand x or brand y were found to have sloppy fit in the common PH2 size or even poor fit in Robertson #2 or #3.
In our manufacturing environments we bought mostly Apex bits in bulk (100’s) and tossed them at the first sign of wear. In our GC/Remodeling business – we tried and liked some Wera and Wiha bits – but often the guys bought bits on the fly at a HD or one of our local suppliers if they hadn’t a chance to restock at our workout center. I don’t think that we paid much attention to testimonials other than our own – and ones at Lowes would have never even hit our radar screen.
you make a good point. Though I’ve never worked in a manufacturing environment, I’d suspect that bits and fasteners are well-matched for their intended use. On the consumer level, Spax brand fasteners include a torx bit. I believe Spax fasteners are made in Germany so no telling where the torx bit is sourced.
Dewalt, a while ago, made a big deal about their fit in ph2 bits, but I stick with torx or robertson if at all possible (I think of ph2 as drywall screws).
Not to mention the “max fit” branding.
“tossed them at the first sign of wear.”
This has been my recent strategy for philips bits and drivers at home and at work. As soon as they have visible wear, they’re trash.
It’s the only way to get them to work properly in my experience.
Those Bosch bits are terrible. And the bit holder is rough with metal shavings coming out of it.
“Those Bosch bits are terrible. And the bit holder is rough with metal shavings and other debris grinding around inside of it.”
“Bosch bits are…metal…inside[…]” @rob
And just like that you left an informative, neutral review!
Legit, Bosch bits might be my “longest lasting” because I almost never use them. I keep reaching for Milwaukee, Wera, Makita, and even DeWalt.
No complaints in value or fit, but observably in my experience, they do not last as long.
Been my experience as well. My old Black and Decker bits from Walmart held up as well as the Bosch bits I was gifted several years ago.
An article about Lowes and Bosch. Is anyone surprised it is a fail on both accounts?
I’m a “glass half full” type of person most of the time, so yes, this kind of stuff typically surprises and disappoints me.
It’s really easy to differentiate the fake reviews from the real ones on Lowe’s website. Something about the way they’re typed and the excitement about the product… Sorry, no one feels like they won a million bucks buying a $15 wrench set made in India but okay…
I’d venture to guess 75% of the reviews on Lowe’s website are fake and they need to be called out for it.
IG has become a giant commercial. Influencers paying others to follow so they can build followers and land more commercial deals. Spyder is a great example. Chinese made blades and bits that IG is going Gaga over all of a sudden. Flex seems to be doing much of the same. It’s not that their bad tools but when you are guys that have been posting as Milwaukee fan boys for years all of a sudden posting Flex this and Spyder that, you know they are being paid for the positive angle. Bosch is probably doing the same with Diablo, it’s the new gig brand that they will use social media to drive vs the more traditional Bosch brand.
From a pays homage logical POV, wicked brilliant marketing. I think you missed the really fine print…BrettK from Bosch marketing. When I see puffed up and dubious claims from dubious sources, I just pass. I just assume another marketing mgr drinking the KoolAid. In fact this is really the problem with Lowe’s. Brand loyalty on consumables matters to customers but you never know if they will have rotated your preferred vendor out for.25 pct gross profit puts.
So many online reviews – even if legit – just seem like first impressions only.
Many may actually have been written some moments after the box had been opened or the clam-shell packaging newly discarded. Trying to read between the lines to discern the context or basis for the review is challenging. Even one’s own experience is probably not statistically significant.
While we might have bought many tools in multiples after an initial trial – we were not buying them in the hundreds and subjecting them to all sorts of different trials conducted with any sort of rigor. We’d often get email requests – if we bought online – to provide a review – but I don’t recall one case where we thought it of value and did so on behalf of the businesses.
At least with popular items sold on Amazon – if their are hundreds of reviews over a reasonable period of time – you might be able to throw out some of the highs and lows – and glean something from what’s left. With what I’ve seen on Lowes (HD too) web pages – I’m less confident that I will find anything meaningful.
I cant get excited by this. If Stuart tried validating a review that I left somewhere by checking Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc – he’d get the same result – nothing. Because I dont have accounts on any social media. On top of that, most of my reviews are under different screen names.
That’s clearly a quote from Brett Kavanaugh, probably in a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Finally he’s getting some decent press! Will miracles never cease?
Some of us, like me, purposely avoid social media. But I will put in comments on mfr sites when I buy a product. I do it on Amazon and Home Depot all the time. Lack of a Twitter or Facebook account doesn’t mean the person doesn’t exist.
The @ part implies they’re quoting a social media handle. But still, I didn’t say they don’t exist, I said they’re seemingly untraceable. I searched Bosch’s website and Lowe’s product listings and can’t find any of the quoted testimony there either.
Beyond whether the endorsements can be traced to users, is this still a valid tactic, to quote a single user’s statement as the primary advertising message?
The “Longest Lasting Bits…” part could be taken at face value or interpreted as an objective claim rather than a subjective one. I wanted to trace the claims to see where they were coming from, and was surprised that I couldn’t find them.
Could Bosch use user endorsements to market their products? Sure. But should they be positioned where a primary selling point usually goes?
So some mid-level manager at Makita does it and people are fed up and tear down Makita, but when Bosch does it, it’s meh, no one cares.
Personal endorsement has long been used in the vitamin/supplement/snake oil business because it avoids the whole issue of false claims. The manufacturer didn’t say it, the endorser did.
Long ago this was used to promote patent medicines on radio programs where the hosts would say things like “we know you won’t believe us so here’s Joe Blow to tell you about his own experience with Dr. Scam’s Miracle Cure-all”.
There’s nothing new under the sun. The only solution is don’t do business with companies who behave badly.
What? You mean we can’t believe advertising claims? Wow, that’s a new one