the grass is greener on the internet


Because you’re worth conning
June 30, 2009, 4:40 pm
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So, you thought the toothpaste people were evil for making you consume more by making the hole in the tube bigger?

As an addict, I say this with regret, but…

Mascara is really one of the biggest marketing cons of all time.

Does it really make your lashes ’10x larger, 10x bigger’ with ‘longer lasting lift’?

[Oh wait…I’ve heard that somewhere else before…]

Let’s be absolutely honest, girls and boys. All that mascara does is coat eyelashes with coloured stuff. The darker colour makes lashes more noticeable, particularly the tips which are too thin to be seen normally. Add a coat of gloop and you have instant volume.

It’s like putting spraypaint on a spiderweb. It doesn’t *actually* have any effect on the lashes.

[Trivia: One of the first successful mascara products was essentially coal dust mixed with Vaseline.]

Not to say that there’s no product differentiation; you still have to worry about factors like clumping, smudging, how well it holds shape and whether the brush gives smooth coverage.

Pretty much all the rest of the claims are made up.

My favourite con is the double-ended mascara with a white ‘primer’ and black ‘mascara’.

It stands to reason that if you give your eyelashes two coats of mascara they’ll look thicker. Less women get these kind of results, mostly because they can’t be bothered.

‘Primer’ solves this. You might notice that it’s always white. This is so that once you’ve applied it you need to apply about twice as much product so that you don’t look like a freak who has black and white eyelashes.

So it DOES make your eyelashes look thicker…because you’ve applied about three times the usual amount of product.

The pure evil in this is that it looks like you’re getting more per stick thing and being charged accordingly. But no. On comparison of my mascaras, the normal tube contains 6.2mLs, compared to 3.5mLs each of primer and mascara (which will be used twice as quickly).

But no matter. We’ll continue buying it, because it promises us a better way of life…and if we just keep thinking that, it will.

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Soup musings
September 26, 2008, 11:48 pm
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‘Canned food is dead food.
Food in tetrapacks stays fressssh.’

It sounds a bit simplistic, but that’s the insights into underlying consumer perceptions which led to Campbell’s putting their soup into tetrapacks, according to the book I’m reading at the moment (Added Value by Mark Sherrington). The soup was then perceived as being fresher and tastier, because of a simple change in packaging.

After a conversation about how to brand a bank, I’ve been wondering…

What if you used semiotic cues to liken bank branches to bars?

Both have security guards and a long service counter which is the main point of interaction… The difference is, one makes people distinctly uncomfortable where the other allows them to relax. Now obviously banks aren’t going to start serving alcohol, but creating some of the feel of a bar would encourage more people to relax, and make what is often a chore or a stressful experience much more pleasant.

What’s in it for the bank? A happy customer is going to be a more loyal customer, for a start. Plus a client at ease is going to be a little more open to persuasion with that loan and little less likely to challenge that account servicing fee. And while encouraging more face-to-face transactions (as opposed to ATMs) may mean that they spend more on employing service staff, those that charge over-the-counter transaction fees won’t be complaining…

Banks are an essential service and can be quite secure in their customer base, but to become complacent about the customer experience and not invest in it is to go backwards…

On a random note, why is L’Oreal’s hair care range Elseve in France and Asia, but Elvive elsewhere?