…who would have guessed. I will admit, sitting through countless hours of advanced marketing classes, consumer behaviour lectures, and other such periods known as the MBA years, I always viewed the various “case studies” with a degree of skepticism. Truth be told, until earlier today, I chalked most of that stuff up to academic puffery – interesting stuff in the confines of academia, but not really the stuff of the real world. How wrong I was.
P.T. Barnum and all of my Marketing professors were absolutely right – never under-estimate the American consumer. Now granted, I would venture to say we have all seen it happen with children…the checkout line of the grocery store impulse candy coveting meltdown. A true classic when it comes to product placement. But to see an adult succumb not just to product placement, and odd number pricing, but quite literally to the pitchman on the flat screen right there in the middle of checking out – stunning.
Never had I seen it happen before. I accepted that there was some truth to it, I mean why else are the checkout lanes jammed with crap all priced under $4.99? And now amplified by the ubiquitous flat screen and accompanying less than subtle sales pitches bombarding your every sense. But to see it work on an adult directly in front of me…amazing. The woman quite literally reached over in mid checkout, grabbed the 5 Hour Energy “shooter” bottle and placed it on the conveyor. I doubt she ever really realized why or even if she did it. Incredible. It was like something out of a text-book case study, or the film The Manchurian Candidate.
Just as soon as I clear the desk today, I will be digging out those old text books from the marketing classes. Looks like that academic puffery has some legs. The 4 P’s are clearly alive and well…much more so than we realize. Of course I still do not quite understand how the kid as Darth Vader thing would make someone buy a VW.