Sunday, August 26, 2012

More on Marketing Manipulation

Photo Credit: Asif Akbar at stock.xchng
Consumers are easily manipulated. No matter how savvy we think we are, we fall for many of the tricks advertisers and marketers use to sell products to us. We don't believe those "Going Out of Business Sale" signs that are permanent fixtures in some store windows, but we will succumb to just the right color, the right descriptive word, or perhaps the right scent. Here are several articles that may make you rethink just how sophisticated your choices are when you make purchasing decisions.

"Does This Smell Clean to You? - Products Bring Aromatherapy To Household Chores; Don't Say 'Banana'"

"Forget lemon and pine. People are fumigating their homes with exotic essences of ginger and hibiscus while scrubbing floors and bathtubs. That's because packaged-goods makers, in their endless hunt for the new and improved, are ramping up the complexity of product fragrances. Adding an elaborate bouquet that consumers crave to a product line helps build loyalty, marketers say. . . .Mr. Clean has New Zealand Springs, promising 'ferns, forests and glacier-carved waterfalls.' No matter that consumers may not know what a glacier-carved waterfall actually smells like. 'They're fanciful. You want to evoke a feeling or emotion, like when you're out in a meadow,' says Deborah Betz, a senior fragrance development manager at International Flavors & Fragrances, an industry supplier. 'It doesn't have to smell like an actual meadow.'"

Read more here to learn how the colors you see on the fashion runways and foods that are currently popular also affect the scents in cleaning products. It's a safe bet that these same factors influence personal hygiene products and cosmetics, too -- even organic ones.

"7 Reasons Why Diamonds Are a Waste of Your Money"

"Ira Weissman is a diamond industry veteran with a decade of experience at one of the world's largest diamond polishers. He has traveled the world buying and selling diamonds and now dedicates his time to helping consumers make the most of their diamond buying decisions."

The focus of the article is on the diamond engagement ring: Long-standing tradition? No. Great investment. No. Good way to stall when avoiding a marriage commitment? Possibly. Read the list to see if you want to rethink how you feel about diamonds in general.

"Cheap Clothing Costs a Lot More Than You Think"

I've posted in the past about the complex dilemma of cheap products produced under horrific conditions in foreign countries and sometimes in the U.S. (here's one previous post).  Elizabeth Cline is the author of a new book entitled “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” (I have not read it yet) in which she explains that the high volume/cheap labor/cheap materials business model has resulted, as most of us already know, in human suffering and negative environmental impact. "Cline states that 'There are very few middle-market brands and retailers and everything has become very cheap or irrationally expensive on the other end.' Leaving little room for quality products that don’t cost a fortune, most of us fall victim to clothing items we know aren’t the best sourced, yet we buy them anyway."

The article promotes www.fashioningchange.com, a website offering free shopping links and information about "stylish, eco-friendly and ethical alternatives to top name brands." My personalized recommendations look good enough for me to investigate further and probably purchase a few items. Read more here.

*********

And one final note: The Thoughtful Consumer blog celebrated its 6th anniversary on August 3rd. Thanks to all of you who read and comment!