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QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched

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QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 122: Critical Reasoning


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A year ago, Dietz Foods launched a yearlong advertising campaign for its canned tuna. Last year Dietz sold 12 million cans of tuna compared to the 10 million sold during the previous year, an increase directly attributable to new customers brought in by the campaign. Profits from the additional sales, however, were substantially less than the cost of the advertising campaign. Clearly, therefore, the campaign did nothing to further Dietz's economic interests.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

(A) Sales of canned tuna account for a relatively small percentage of Dietz Foods' profits.
(B) Most of the people who bought Dietz's canned tuna for the first time as a result of the campaign were already loyal customers of other Dietz products.
(C) A less expensive advertising campaign would have brought in significantly fewer new customers for Dietz's canned tuna than did the campaign Dietz Foods launched last year.
(D) Dietz made money on sales of canned tuna last year.
(E) In each of the past five years, there was a steep, industry-wide decline in sales of canned tuna.

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QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched [#permalink]

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This passage has a readily identifiable conclusion, so let's start with that. We are told that, "a year ago, Dietz Foods launched a yearlong advertising campaign for its canned tuna." The conclusion of the passage is that "the campaign did nothing to further Dietz's economic interests."

How does the author arrive at that conclusion?

  • Dietz sold 12 million cans of tuna last year (while the ad campaign was running).
  • Dietz sold only 10 million cans of tuna the previous year (before the ad campaign was started).
  • We are specifically told that this increase in sales was "directly attributable to new customers brought in by the campaign." Because this information is given, we don't have to worry about whether any assumptions are required to arrive at this intermediate conclusion.
  • However, profits from these additional sales were substantially less the cost of the ad campaign.
  • Since the costs substantially exceeded the profits, the author concludes that the ad campaign did nothing to further the company's economic interests.

Now we need to find an answer choice that, if true, most seriously weakens this argument:

Quote:
(A) Sales of canned tuna account for a relatively small percentage of Dietz Foods' profits.

Last year, the cost of the ad campaign exceeded the additional profits created by the ad campaign. Based on those facts, the author concludes that the campaign did not further the company's economic interests. Regardless of the percentage of total profits accounted for by sales of canned tuna, if costs exceeded profits, according to the author, the campaign did not further the company's economic interests. Choice (A) does not interfere with this logic and can be eliminated.

Quote:
(B) Most of the people who bought Dietz's canned tuna for the first time as a result of the campaign were already loyal customers of other Dietz products.

A counterargument to the author's argument might be that the ad campaign expanded Dietz's customer base and, thus, that the initial cost of the ad campaign might be outweighed by increased profits in years to come. However, choice (B) eliminates this possible counterargument and thus strengthens the author's argument. Since we are looking for a weakening statement, choice (B) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(C) A less expensive advertising campaign would have brought in significantly fewer new customers for Dietz's canned tuna than did the campaign Dietz Foods launched last year.

Choice (C) does not change the fact that the cost of last year's ad campaign did not exceed the additional profits created by the ad campaign last year. Choice (C) does not impact the author's reasoning and, thus, can be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) Dietz made money on sales of canned tuna last year.

We are told that Dietz profited from the additional sales ("Profits from the additional sales..."). Choice (D) does not give us any new information and does not change the fact that the campaign's costs exceeded the additional profits last year. Eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) In each of the past five years, there was a steep, industry-wide decline in sales of canned tuna.

According to the author's argument, the company would have been better off economically if it had not run the ad campaign. The ad campaign seemingly increased costs more than it increased profits. This analysis rests on the assumption that profits would have remained the same (compared to the previous year) if the ad campaign had not been run.

But what if profits would have decreased if the ad campaign had not been run? In that case, we would have to compare the cost of the ad campaign not just to the increase in profits but to the sum of the increase in profits and the potential profit loss. Perhaps the cost of the ad campaign exceeded this sum, in which case the author's logic would fail. Choice (E) allows for this possibility by suggesting that Dietz's sales of canned tuna would have been much less than 10 million if it weren't for the ad campaign.

Choice (E) most seriously weakens the author's argument and, thus, is the best answer.
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Re: QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2017, 07:16
A year ago, Dietz Foods launched a yearlong advertising campaign for its canned tuna. Last year Dietz sold 12 million cans of tuna compared to the 10 million sold during the previous year, an increase directly attributable to new customers brought in by the campaign. Profits from the additional sales, however, were substantially less than the cost of the advertising campaign. Clearly, therefore, the campaign did nothing to further Dietz's economic interests.

Type - weaken
Boil it down - Advertising campaign did nothing to further Dietz's economic interests since Profits from the additional sales, however, were substantially less than the cost of the advertising campaign

(A) Sales of canned tuna account for a relatively small percentage of Dietz Foods' profits. - Irrelevant - we are only concerned about profit and advertising cost spent for canned tuna
(B) Most of the people who bought Dietz's canned tuna for the first time as a result of the campaign were already loyal customers of other Dietz products. - Incorrect - if at all this strengthens that advertising campaign was not very useful
(C) A less expensive advertising campaign would have brought in significantly fewer new customers for Dietz's canned tuna than did the campaign Dietz Foods launched last year. - Irrelevant
(D) Dietz made money on sales of canned tuna last year. - Irrelevant - we are evaluating the ROI of the advertising campaign
(E) In each of the past five years, there was a steep, industry-wide decline in sales of canned tuna. - Correct - In absence of advertising campaign, the sales would have fallen further to less than 10 million cans. Thus, the advertising campaign was useful.

Answer E
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Re: QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2017, 07:27
A year ago, Dietz Foods launched a yearlong advertising campaign for its canned tuna. Last year Dietz sold 12 million cans of tuna compared to the 10 million sold during the previous year, an increase directly attributable to new customers brought in by the campaign. Profits from the additional sales, however, were substantially less than the cost of the advertising campaign. Clearly, therefore, the campaign did nothing to further Dietz's economic interests.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

(A) Sales of canned tuna account for a relatively small percentage of Dietz Foods' profits. -It is out of scope of the argument. We are not concerned about the Dietz Foods as a whole.
(B) Most of the people who bought Dietz's canned tuna for the first time as a result of the campaign were already loyal customers of other Dietz products. -Irrelevant
(C) A less expensive advertising campaign would have brought in significantly fewer new customers for Dietz's canned tuna than did the campaign Dietz Foods launched last year. -We are not bothered about the alternative source of marketing.
(D) Dietz made money on sales of canned tuna last year. -This is the information already given in the passage.
(E) In each of the past five years, there was a steep, industry-wide decline in sales of canned tuna. -Correct. If there was an industry wide depression then the increase in sales are definitely a boost to the company.
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Re: QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2017, 10:03
Profits of 2 million sales < campaign costs
Campaign was not effective and didn’t do anything much

Lets look at E
(E) In each of the past five years, there was a steep, industry-wide decline in sales of canned tuna.

According to this analysis the profit last year should have been lower than 10 million but Dietz’s made 12 million. This weaken the argument.

Hence E

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Re: QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched   [#permalink] 11 Oct 2017, 10:03
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QOTD: A year ago, Dietz Foods launched

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