Friday, March 16, 2007

Procter & Gamble thinks we're dim

So I've been buying the 200-ounce bottle of Tide laundry detergent for some time. Imagine my surprise when the new jug arrived with the rest of my Peapod grocery order. Emblazoned at the top of the label was this message:

33% MORE
ounces than 150 oz.

Seriously. That's the best they can do? To challenge us to practice our arithmetic by figuring out if they did the math right?

Same product. Same jug. But the jug is larger than a smaller jug.

There's no limit to where marketers can go with this. Gallon of milk? 100% more ounces than a half gallon! One-liter bottle of Coke? Half the calories of a two-liter bottle!

Procter & Gamble isn't alone in thinking their customer base is easily cozened and rather simple-minded. Today's Chicago Tribune business section had an article about Wrigley's bold new idea for chewing gum. Justin Timberlake's bringing sexy back, and Wrigley is bringing stick back. Yes, their market research tells them Americans are hankering for traditional sticks of gum, and a brand called 5 is just the thing

Wrigley's marketing guy, Martin Schlatter, says the 5 stick "is the right size." The Tribune reports that this will "help consumers select the right serving size." Is there a lot of confusion about that, about how much sugarless gum is the right amount, not too big a wad and not so little it gets lost between your teeth? Schlatter also said 5 is softer and thinner (and will undoubtedly fall prey to all those penis-enlarging spams).

The article continues: Schlatter said the company believes that teens and young professionals will be drawn to the high-tech black packaging that will glow slightly in darkened clubs.

"Others will see that they are taking a stick of 5," said Schlatter, predicting that it will become a sought-after product.

This summer when the 5 gum is launched nationwide, you too can be a trendsetter with your high-tech pack o' chewing gum. Oh—and the peppermint flavor will be called Cobalt, which Wikipedia describes as a "slightly toxic" element, and the radioactive isotopes could be used in a dirty bomb. Yum!

Seen any other ridiculous consumer products or packaging lately?


Mignon said...

Well, it's not really a marketing/packaging snaffoo, but I hate that a box of multi-sized tampons only includes four or six slims. Do they not know how long a period can drag on after you've had kids? Hey guys - thanks for all the Supers - they're the bomb, but are you doing this so that I'm forced to buy a completely separate box of Thins or Slims or whatever?

Also, who came up with idea to create a completely different line of Thomas trains that don't run on any conventional wood track and then force Target to carry only this line of trains and make their accomodating track cheap and plastic and ugly? Cheap plastic track for nice sturdy die-cast trains. Crap.

E. said...

Yes, the smaller version of Thomas trains - pure evil. Well meaning relatives keep buying my kid the littler versions of the engines, but I refuse to buy two kinds of tracks.

I've always thought the most classic scam was directions on shampoo bottles (who needs directions for shampoo anyway?) that advise you to "lather, rinse, and repeat." They may as well just say "please use twice as much of our product for no discernable reason, in order that we may, over time, take twice as much of your money."

luolin said...

At least the bottle wasn't smaller than it used to be.

Orange said...

The new packaging for Toll House break & bake cookie dough boasts, "Makes 24 cookies now!" Yup. Same net weight, same amount of dough. But instead of cutting it into 20 cookies in a 4x5 grid, now it's 24 slightly narrower dough bits in a 4x6 layout. They can't up the count much more without running into the size of their mini cookie dough bits...unless they shrink those, too. I wouldn't put it past them.

Anonymous said...

Consumer Reports devotes the whole back page of every issue to packaging and advertising hooey along the same lines --- some of them are truly hilarious.