Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Episode 74: What Color is Your Soap?

Back in the day, whichever day that actually was, advertising made some sort of sense.  People had useful products to sell, and they wanted to tell people all about the useful features of their useful products.  Today, I had to buy soap for my dishwasher.  In the soap-for-dishwashers isle I found a dizzying array of options.  Oddly enough, most of the different options were actually from the same brand.  There was soap that was 6 x’s the power, and soap that was 8 x’s the power, and even soap that was 10 x’s the power! Okay, is this some sort of internal one-upmanship at the dishwasher soap factory?  Why wouldn’t they just sell the best soap they had? Maybe they are improving their soap so fast they cannot sell the weak stuff before the stronger stuff comes out. At least they are still trying to appeal to my desire to clean things, which makes sense if you are selling soap.  This is a concept apparently lost on the carwash people.

A few days ago I actually paid attention to the various benefits of the different car wash levels.  At first, things made sense.  The levels started with Good, then moved on up to Better, and then on again to Best, and finally on to Supreme, which did make me wonder how we differentiate among superlatives, but I could understand the car people clearly thought Supreme was better than Best.  The obvious question then is what makes a carwash Supreme.  Tricolored foam.  Yep, that is what bumps your carwash up another rung on the ladder of superlatives.  It’s not foam that is 10x’s the power of lesser foam. It’s not even 6x’s the power.  It’s just multicolored.  Okay, I realize the mushy-brained kooks of advertising think we are all very gullible and not very bright, but it’s like they aren’t even trying anymore. “Here, buy this soap because it is colorful, and won’t all those colors look fun when you are washing stuff?” 

Sure, companies have been using the old lets-differentiate-ourselves-from-our-competitors-with-some-sort-of trivial-detail-that-is-totally-unrelated-to-our-product-or-its-use trick since mushy-brained kooks took over the marketing racket, but they were way more crafty and less obvious about it.  I mean, they would take the same old thing, the thing maybe a few other people were also making, wrap it in sexy new packaging and say how much better it was than some other version of the exact same thing in less sexy packaging.  It used to be about the actual product, or at least pretend to be about the product.  

Has it really come to this?  They don’t even bother to make up something about multicolored foam being more effective.  Have our minds really been turned so mushy we will choose a car wash based on the color of the foam it uses? I, for one, will not!  I bought the Supreme because it was better than the Best, whatever that means, and that is why the mushy-brained kooks get paid the big dollars.

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