Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I love marketing

The Moisture Response Challenge

I love marketing. Seriously. If you consider how much totally unneccesary crap that the average person buys in their lifetime, then you can see very clearly the overwhelming power that the marketing industry posesses. It is the most benign -- and most powerful -- form of psychological warfare around, and I can respect that. I'm obsessed with mind control, especially large-scale suggestion like marketing, advertising, and propaganda. Marketing made me buy my stupid hat, and the awesome toothpaste I've been using -- despite the fact that I can barely afford either of those things right now. Also, many other things. Marketing is the boss of me.

You have to respect a person who has the creativity to sit at a meeting, and wonder "OK. Our chewing gum is exactly the fucking same as all the other peppermint-flavored gum in the history of gum. How am I going to trick the fatasses of the world into buying it?" And you've gotta respect them for then actually coming up with a way. I'm a pretty brand-loyal guy; there are brands I trust, that do things I enjoy consistently, and I usually stick to them for the basics. But at some point or another, I was totally tricked into trying them out in the first place, right?

Slogans are a big part of that. I'm more likely to fly on an airline that loudly declares, "We love to fly and it shows," than to fly an airline that sheepishly whimpers, "We almost always land with the landing gear down." A good slogan commands -- nay, dares you to use their product or service, portraying confidence and assurance: "Enjoy Coke!" "Have it your way!" "Use as directed!!"

But alas, the weaker ones, the companies who lack the bold or confidence-inspiring qualities that come from having a product that anyone might want to buy, have to resort to slightly different strategies. Picture that same advertising executive, staring vacantly at the giant piece of oaktag with the huge picture of their worthless product on it, ready to just fucking give up. "Wait just a god damned minute," they might say, "our product doesn't need words to make it better, it doesn't need to actually be better, it just needs...SCIENCE!!"

There you have it. Thousands of otherwise worthless products, scientifically enhanced with scientifically enhanced names in a tidal wave of bullshit, a foecal science tsunami. Retsin. Flavor-Baked chicken. Allsilk. Flavor Crystals.

So yesterday I was in the supermarket, and I decided to pick up a product that boasted its "Moisture Response" feature. I'm kind of a smart guy -- if you ignore how I did in school -- and yet I was pretty stumped. I even asked the person next to me in the aisle if they could decide what it meant, and if it was necessarily a good thing. Do I need moisture response? Should I speak with a doctor? Am I running the risk of injury?

But I was smart enough to notice that none of the product's competitors were forward-thinking enough to implement the Moisture Response; perhaps they didn't have a sufficient R&D budget, or they lacked the ability to travel to the future, or whatever. In any case, I was sold. Screw you guys, I'm slapping down my dollars and will be reaping the benefits of Moisture Response, just as soon as I get my ass home from the store.

Here's the deal: I'm willing to bet that none of you can even guess what the hell kind of product uses Moisture Reponse in the first place, that's how vague this crap really is. If you've already bought this product or are from the future, you are immediately disqualified.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cigarettes Marketing

"We do not imply in our marketing, and smokers should not assume, that "light" or "ultra light" brands are "safe," or are "safer" than full-flavor brands," states Brendan McCormick, a spokesperson for leading cigarette maker Philip Morris. "[The development of low-tar cigarettes is] related to consumer taste preferences."

This is a complete falsehood. The ads imply exactly the opposite. People have been researching how to make safe cigarettes for the past 50 years, and they are doing it right now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pharmaceutical Marketing

Study: "Me-too" drugs make-up 2/3 of new products

I wish that this proved anything more significant than the responsibility of companies to their shareholders, which is mandated by law, if I'm not mistaken.

Another phenomenon that wasn't really explored in the article is the fact that drugs are coming off patent, making them cheaper than the new top of the line drug in their class. Who insists on having the newest and best product in a class of long-standing winners? The consumer does, because they respond to pharmaceutical marketing.

Where does the responsibility in picking the most cost-effective product lie? With the doctor.