Monday, October 23, 2017

New and Improved.....Again?

Here’s a question that plagues me:  If company’s want us to practice “brand loyalty” why don’t they make the same things two years in a row, so we can become invested in the product?

This morning I used the last of a small pot of eye shadow that I’ve had for some time.  I like the shade, the texture and the wear ability of this product.   In spite of that, I won’t bother going back to the makeup counter because I’m sure since I purchased this small container the color palette for eye shadows has changed a hundred times and has been “new and improved” just as often.  The only way to beat the system is to buy six of anything you like because you’ll never find it again.

Before “branding” came to mean top of the mind awareness for the company and not the product things were much simpler.  I remember mom always bought Ivory soap.  We didn’t know who made it, but it had to be Ivory soap because it was 99.9% pure (pure what we didn’t question) and it doubled as a bath toy because it floated.  My mom was susceptible to that advertising because her blue-eyed, blonde haired little girl (namely me) developed skin rashes just my saying the words.  Ivory soap never changed; I can still the delightfully creamy scent and see the blue and white wrapper in my mind’s eye today. 

Another must have at our house was Prell shampoo.   What was not to love?  It was shamrock green liquid in an hour-glass bottle.  I remember the time they put a plastic pearl in the bottle and it moved around in the lovely green liquid as mom poured the shampoo onto my hair.  Now that’s marketing. 

Today everything is new and improved, bigger and thicker and faster, battery operated and less fattening.  The packaging changes all the time; often I’ll overlook something I want to buy because it doesn’t look familiar.  I can’t become attached to a product because it’s gone from the shelves before I have an opinion…good or bad.  In the ancient past we just assumed it was as good as it could ever be, and on the shelf it always looked the same.   My whole childhood was one, long, Ivory soap commercial.

With all the problems we have today this isn’t an earth-shattering change…. just disconcerting.  All those years ago shopping with mom meant picking up the things we always used and trusted.  If there was something written on the packaging, we never knew it.   Today the must-read label information is almost overwhelming…. country of origin, ingredients (listed in order of included amount) and nutritional information.  They want me to know if it’s been produced in a plant that processes peanuts, whether the plastic bottle is PBA free, and if the product can be microwaved.  I’m sure there are other things I could find out if I was just smart enough to decipher the small print.  Oh, and don’t forget to check your product alerts before you go shopping so you don’t buy something that’s been recalled for some life-threatening reason.

Whether or not you believe life was better in the “good old days” you must agree life was simpler because we were simpler.  We believed what we were told about products and we stuck with them year after year.  I don’t necessarily think I want to go back to those days, I just want to be able to buy an item I like and know it will be there when I return next week.   Well, that and I want my soap to float……

                                                                Life is Good