Sometimes marketers seem to be making up solutions to problems that don't exist, writes Jack Neff. For example, an ad claim that Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant works well against worse-smelling "stress sweat," or the ugliness of female armpits cured by Unilever's Dove Go Sleeveless. A YouTube video for Sun Products' Wisk claiming that there are invisible stains in clothes has drawn millions of views and some social media suggestions that it's either a parody or a scam. "Everyone is looking to consumer research for ideas. It's desperation time," says beauty-industry consultant Suzanne Grayson.

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