Monday, January 9, 2012

New and Improved?



It is time for a little discernment.

Ever heard of Dr. Mercola? He may be right. Kind of extreme on the 'they are trying to get you with x,y,z and it's negative Impact on your health!' but he may be right.

I worked for not one but two consumer products companies in my time as a chemical engineer. The whole point is making money. Sure there are some things that are New! They open up a new category to market. For example, Soft Scrub, Via Instant Coffee, iPod, iPad, cellular phones...

Much time and money is invested in product development. There are focus groups and market research to figure out what people want. There are research teams and chemical engineers coming up with the prototypes and figuring out how to scale the manufacturing process up. There are the buyers, who always fight over a penny, since that penny counts for millions in the scale of product sold. All of it is driven by Marketing, soulless people who are promoted every six months. They remind me of a gambler looking for the next big win.

Just like a fortune cookie, when you read it the old saying goes:add the words 'in bed'...be sure to add the 'and cheaper' after the 'new and improved' or 'new'(new is just a cost savings that is equal to the former product. There have been nine soft scrubs marketed in the same package, three Cokes, etc).

Ask yourself who does it serve if I buy this? Is there anything in it that is compelling me to buy? Product placement in the store? A promotion? A display? Limited time offer? Does the product itself trigger my compulsion without my being aware of it? Cigarettes and snack chips are designed for your 'pleasure' to a sophistication you would be shocked to know-- 'betcha can't eat just one!' is the design principle! They bypass all of  your bodies' ability to detect and say 'stop'. Chips have mouth feel, acid to make you salivate, salt and lots of fat. You body stops only after too much sugar or protein. So you grab another chip because of the mouthfeel, the way the chip crunches and quickly disappears, and for the salt.

Be careful. Be smart. Spend your money on companies whose goals align with yours. Consider yourself informed on their tactics.

Love yourself enough to stay out of their trap.

Namaste,

Reiki Doc

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