Thursday, 16 September 2010

Health, Safety and Marmite

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I was struck this week by a couple of articles, both illustrating (to me anyway) the difficult balancing act of Consumer Products.

One was about how promotions can excite an almost physical response in people's brains. Apparently a free jar of Marmite is akin to being physically aroused.

I get that.

The interesting thing for a lot of my customers, is how that can be used to counteract a little-known aspect of promotions - the fact that almost all promotions are short lived. Let's call it the "Jenny Thompson" effect. Get the free jar of Marmite. Get excited. Get a jar of Bovril next time.

Apparently the researchers are going to figure out how to make promotional excitement last longer - I would call that the 64 billion dollar question. Or maybe the £1,200 money back question.

Then I read another article about the much more mundane - but infinitely more tragic - health and safety aspect of the companies that make our favourite products. Somebody, in a plant, somewhere, had an accident that gave them brain damage. Sorry, but there's no happy ending and no punchline.

Promotions, efficiencies, effectiveness and consumer engagement are all well and good - even better when people are kept fit and healthy.

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