They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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Great New Look: The Emperor's New Clothes

The Stuff of Life

So today I was opening a loaf of Brownberry bread (Honey Wheat Berry, I think), and I noticed a sticker on the bag. Great New Look.

Now I am assuming they aren't talking about the loaf of bread. Heavens to Betsey, no way would marketing hype have anything to do with the damned product. So we're talking about the packaging.

Dr. Phil's Theory on Great New Look

What's more important to a company? Brand-name loyalty or tapping into new customers? Notice I put the conditional as "or", not "and". So why are companies so hot to shaft their existing customer base?

It's all because of middle management, trying to justify their existence.

Some companies have adopted a corporate policy of trying to come up with new products in new markets. I think Rubbermaid works on trying to get two new areas opened up every year -- this is how they got into the big tub container business and the molded plastic mailbox business from what I understand.

Elsewhere, middle management looks around for something to do.

"Let's change the packaging!"

"Let's design a sticker which says Great New Look and put it on every package! And everyone will marvel at our Great New Look!"

"Why?"

"Huh?" "What?" "Why what?"

"Why should anyone care that your package has a Great New Look? Or that you spent money redesigning the label. And money to retool the packaging. And money to make and apply all those stickers. Tell me how that improves the product. The bread tastes the same."

"You're a Physicist, not a Businessman." "And you never like it when we New And Improve things anyway."

"Yes and Yes," say I. "And be damned with you all for messing with things and wasting money for no real purpose."

Look! It's Halley's Comet! (Swipe)

My wife has an alternate theory. She figures that the whole Great New Look hype is misdirection, hiding something else such as a price increase. I mean, if it's not exactly the same thing, then you can't compare prices, eh? But I looked at the packaging, and I don't think they've changed the Net Weight -- another favorite marketing misdirection: change the amount and either keep the price the same or drop it to mask a real price increase. And of course prices aren't on packages much anymore and I don't have the sales slip in front of me. It's a loaf of bread. We needed it, we bought it. Knowing my wife, she probably bought the Brownberry Ovens bread because she had a coupon for that brand.

At Least It's Not ALL Bad Marketing

There are some commercials which we like. The latest is a commercial showing some weary travelers arrive off a flight, and as they make their way into the city, they keep pausing and sniffing. Finally we get the voice-over. Something about that "New city smell." The commercial is for Southwest Airlines and they're adding Pittsburgh as a city.

But the concept of a "new city smell" is hilarious. Especially when you consider what the air in Pittsburgh was like back in The Day of Steel (grin).

Dr. Phil
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