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.