November 26, 2012 by Judith Liebaert
It’s been said the secret to happiness is learning to want what you have instead of longing to have what you want.
What kind of anarchy is this?
If that simplistic philosophy were to take root and grow, it would surely smother the very breath of capitalism and consumption economics in America.
There is no denying it — we are a nation of great consumers, using up, replacing and upgrading; always wanting more or better than what we have.
It’s the American way. An entire industry, if not the very economy of our country, is based on it; suggesting the need, creating the desire and closing the deal — the holy grail of marketing.
About a week ago, while perusing the shelves at the local discount chain, searching for the right toothpaste to meet my dental needs, I spotted a newcomer to the already 50 or more choices. One major brand now offers an age appropriate formula for baby boomers.
Age appropriate toothpaste isn’t exactly a new concept. A tot formula was introduced some time back, presumably made with less potentially injurious ingredients if ingested. Turns out small children like to swallow the paste made with flavors, like bubble gum. Go figure.
I donned my cheaters and started comparing ingredients listed on the packages only to find the senior toothpaste, formulated to address the needs of aging gums and teeth — gingivitis, enamel loss and sensitivity — were virtually the same ingredients in the complete care formula I’ve been using.
Curious, I went on to spend more time than I should have reading the backs of numerous brands and formulas. Here’s the short breakdown to save you the trouble: The active ingredients are the same regardless of which benefits the packaging touts. So pick your poison.
In other words, go for the flavor that you most like, or the freshness factor when done brushing, or the sensitive paste if you need it. Choose the sparkly gel or the abrasive paste. Buy pearly liquid dispensed in drops or paste that foams from a pump. It’s all going to do the same job.
Having taken numerous marketing courses in recent years, I can tell you that the confusing array of seemingly different options to choose from is all about the pitch. And the pitch is all about giving lagging sales a shot in the arm.
Here’s another time saving tip for you. The same applies to shampoo, hair conditioners and styling products, cosmetics and facial creams, nutritional supplements, and OTC medications across brands. Just pick the ones with containers to match your décor, or prices to fit your coin purse. It’s all going to deliver the same results.
Really, the marketing hype permeates almost everything we purchase. The buzz promises, healthier, whiter teeth; smoother, flawless skin; cleaner, whiter laundry; sleeker body style and magic assist parking; fuller flavor and fewer calories; better fit with secret control panel; bigger screen, more aps, unlimited minutes; smaller chip, more memory. If all else fails, we can replace the things we already have with things that are a new color, new shape, longer, shorter, smaller or bigger.
Is it any wonder we old broads become more and more invisible as the years add up? What do we have to offer that is new? Although, we are most definitely improved. Perhaps we need a marketing campaign for that; “Wiser – Kinder and more user friendly than ever before!” Okay, that last part might only apply to the grandkids – but still truth in advertising.
I digress. The only thing really new about these consumer products is the packaging and the pitch; nothing more than devices to reposition a familiar product at the front end of the marketing cycle and generate an increase in sales. And all of that redesigned packaging with the associated sales campaign to launch a “new and improved” product drives up the price of what we buy.
Go consumption economics!
So to Black Friday, I say now’s the time to throw down your circulars, break ranks and join the revolution. Free yourself from the oppression of acquiring everything you want. Go back to your warm bed and find your bliss by finding satisfaction in what you have.
As for us old babes who are genuinely getting better ever day, I say raise your own value – you are definitely worth the investment for the true happiness you bring to others.