[nSLUG] Slightly OT: icons and how we sometimes feel

Miles Thompson miles at allnovascotia.com
Sun Apr 15 09:38:58 ADT 2007

At 08:34 AM 4/14/2007, D G Teed wrote:
<snip>.  Why do people want
>to attach to brands as deeply as tribal people would feel about
>their icons?  I grew up in the 70's and then there was an embarrassment
>to wear clothing showing brands.

I see others have written at length, so I'm adding a possibly redundant two 
cents worth.

The first and obvious statement is  that success with a brand makes 
subsequent choice very easy. I'll stay away from the car analogy and use 
canned tomatoes instead, because the "house brands" of the grocery chains 
provide an interesting study.

The house || no-name || white label brands are all attempts by the chains 
to make an additional cent or two per unit and with their massive buying 
power to do an end run around traditional manufacturers. There has been 
some success.

Let's say you have faithfully used Aylmer brand canned tomatoes for years; 
on this trip to the store they are sold out, so you buy the house brand 
ones instead. It's a pleasant surprise - they turn out to be every bit as 
good as Aylmer tomatoes, and you saved 20 cents. Not a lot of money, but a 
lot in relation to the $1.89 you normally pay for Aylmer tomatoes.

So for the next 3 three months, you buy store-brand canned tomatoes, and 
enjoy them until the afternoon you are making your famous pasta sauce and 
the tomatoes are pale, watery and are totally lacking in flavour. The can 
isn't marked in any way you understand, but the chain changed suppliers - 
they want that extra cent, remember?

This never happened to you with Aylmer tomatoes. No disappointments, no 
failures, just canned tomatoes that were always the same.

Question: What do you buy next time? How do you look at the other 
store-branded products?

The interesting point is that some chains have done it right, Weston's 
President's Choice is an excellent example: clever marketing, premium 
product have made that line a trusted brand. Other chains have not, Sobey's 
Compliments / Our Compliments or whatever they use now is an equally fine 
example of how NOT to do it - inconsistent, no "back story", generally 
untrustworthy. Yes, you might save some money, but the question of quality 
is always open.

I'm older than most of you guys and know where Donald is coming from. If 
someone wants me to wear their logo they can pay me for it, unless it's 
some cause or product I fervently believe in.

But I completely fail to understand the overwhelming success of the iPod - 
people pay a premium price for a device on which they can't even change the 
battery. Huh? What dose of common sense is missing here?

And why buy something which marks you as a target? You can get beaten up 
and have your iPod stolen like what happened to that kid in Dartmouth late 
last evening / early this morning.

Like every other techno-dweeb I have a black nylon briefcase / sholder bag. 
It sort of looks like a laptop case, though it contains nothing more than 
papers of interest to me, some glucose tablets, insulin pen and a 
glucometer, along with a magazine or book I'm reading. If I want to leave 
it in the car I always take pains to hide it, just in case some thug will 
think "lap top!!!", smash in the windows and steal it. It's a pain in the ass.

Interestingly enough, it's branded, although only one person has ever 
commented on it. She and her partner were into hiking and she recognized 
it, but the brand played no part in its selection. The case was only the 
best of a mediocre lot.

I've often thought I should carry a hot-pink || bright yellow || lime green 
shoulder bag. It would be different enough to give a thief pause, easy to 
identify, and of course mark me as iconclastic and one who is willing to 
not fit in, so maybe we should not take a chance on him. Guess I just lack 
the courage, or I'm too conservative. <g>

Ah, I've rambled for long enough.

Cheers - Miles 

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