EppsNet Archive: Marketing

‘Natural’ Product Claims Can Be Murky

Whole Foods Markets Inc. last fall started selling a new brand of laundry detergent called Nature’s Power, whose green bottle claims the product is made “with plant-derived soaps.” Its top active ingredient, a commonly used cleaning agent called sodium laureth sulfate, is found in plenty of its mainstream peers, including Arm & Hammer, which like Nature’s Power is made by Church & Dwight Co. Sodium laureth sulfate can be produced from coconut oil, palm oil or petroleum. “It is the same chemical compound, regardless of what it’s derived from,” says Clarence Miller, a professor emeritus of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University in Houston. A Church & Dwight spokesman said the sodium laureth sulfate in Nature’s Power “is plant-based and not the same” as the sodium laureth sulfate found in Arm & Hammer. Whole Foods declined to comment. — WSJ Let’s also note that in addition to being made… Read more →

Staples: That Wasn’t So Easy

I was checking out at Staples with my new purchase of a spiral notebook. The checker scanned the barcode and I started to swipe my credit card. “Wait a minute,” she said. “Don’t swipe it yet.” Time passed. “Okay, go ahead.” After I swiped the card, she said, “Can you read me the four-digit security code on the front of the card.” I read it to her. More time passed. “Can I see the card please?” she said. “I thought this was supposed to be easy.” “It is easy.” “Okay, sorry.”   Along with my Staples receipt, I was given a coupon for 40 percent off a different, more expensive brand of notebook. I had actually looked at the other brand of notebook when I was in the store, but didn’t think it was worth the extra cost. If I’d had the coupon at the time, I might have used… Read more →

Food Trucks

Food trucks have always been the dining option of last resort — “roach coaches” we called them. Now food trucks are considered fashionable cuisine. People actually make an effort to find them and eat from them. Whoever’s in charge of brand management for the food truck industry has got to be a genius. Read more →

Beware of Chest Physicians Bearing Gifts

I work for a healthcare organization. In the lunch room today was one of those cylinders full of caramel corn and cheese corn that turn up everywhere around the holidays. This one had a note attached: Compliments of your colleagues at the American College of Chest Physicians. Are caramel corn and cheese corn good for cardiac health? They’ve gotta be terrible, right? Beware of chest physicians bearing gifts! CARDIOLOGIST: Who referred you to our office? PATIENT: I saw your name on a container of cheese corn. CARDIOLOGIST: Ha ha, yeah, those things pay for themselves a million times over in stents and angioplasties. Read more →

It’s Not About You

It has to be about your readers, who will, it’s hoped, become your customers. It has to be about making them awesome. So, for example, if you’re selling a clever attachment to a camera that diffuses harsh flash light, don’t talk about the technical features or about your holiday sale (10 percent off!). Make a list of 10 tips for being a better photographer. If you’re opening a restaurant, don’t blog about your menu. Blog about great food. You’ll attract foodies who don’t care about your restaurant yet. If you make superior, single-source chocolate, don’t write about that great trip you took to the Dominican Republic to source cocoa beans. That’s all about you. Instead, write the definitive article about making chocolate-covered strawberries. For the next 10 years, whenever a gourmand or a baker searches Google for a recipe on how to make chocolate-covered strawberries, he or she will find… Read more →

Lack of Privacy Is Part of the Deal

Product endorsement is “implicitly aspirational”: The grandaddy of such advertising in the modern age, of course, is three simple words: “Be Like Mike.” Once you’re asking people to be like you, you’re inviting them to wonder about the “you” they’re supposed to want to be like. End of privacy. In case your agents, lawyers, managers, and other handlers didn’t mention it, that’s the deal. — Harry Shearer Read more →