Monday, October 10, 2005

New and Improved?

In my continuing quest to expose the fraud that is the world of product marketing...

Have you ever wondered if things that are called "new and improved" really are? Take the Glade "Plug-in" air freshener, for example. This item now has several variations... there's the original plug-in, the "double-size" original design plug-in, then they came up with the "extra outlet" plug-in... the one with the extra outlet built into it so you don't lose one in the process, and countless other improvements since then.

Now I'm not going to say the improvements aren't useful... certainly they're good ideas. They say the simplest ideas are the most impressive. But that's just it... now I don't claim the people who invented the Glade Plug-In are rocket scientists or brain surgeons, but they're obviously smarter than your average person if they're inventing things like that. I'm supposed to be convinced that when they invented the Glade plug-in, they didn't think to add an extra outlet to it so you could use it without blocking an existing outlet? I think not! I propose that, in fact, all of the so-called improvements were there all along, but were de-improved for the sake of marketing. Let's take a step into the Conspiracy Time Machine and go back to that fateful day when the product marketing folks first encountered the Glade Plug-In...

<do the wavy tv flashback sequence thing here>

Here we have Jane, the person who invented the Plug-In, and Bob, the head of product marketing for Glade.

"Bob, we have this great new product! It's the air-freshener of the 90's... it plugs into the wall which warms this scent thingie, that releases freshness into the room."
"Wow Jane, that's genius! We'll sell millions!"
"But wait, there's more. Look, an extra outlet built-in so that you don't lose any space."
"That's great, but can we make it simpler? Get rid of the extra outlet and make it worse."
"What? Why would I want to do that?"
"Because if we dumb it down, it's still a product that's so ingenius everyone will buy it. But THEN, they'll realize that they're missing an outlet. Just then, we'll release the 'new and improved' model with the extra outlet! And they'll buy another, this time with the extra outlet! We'll keep adding everything as an extra feature, and get them to buy a new one. We'll sell 3 times as many as we would otherwise! It's the golden rule of product marketing, never give them a quality product first, if you can give them inferior quality and then make them upgrade!"

<back to reality>

So there you have it. It's all about swindling the consumer into purchasing the same thing multiple times, each time with a new improvement. The moral of the story is, next time you buy something that's "new and improved" think of who's trying to take your money. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the Glade plug in you had in you dorm room when living with Chris. Your room always smelled so nice so it actually convinced me to buy one for my dorm room.