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FISCHER – Do not underestimate the power of the marketing side

By Travis Fischer,

People like to underestimate the power of advertising.

They convince themselves that a lifetime of growing up bombarded with billboards, television commercials, and other forms of marketing have inoculated them from their influence.

FISCHER - Do not underestimate the power of the marketing side
Travis Fischer

I am under no such illusion.

Not just because of the simple fact that if advertising didn’t work it wouldn’t be absolutely everywhere, and I’m not just saying it because advertising is what pays my bills.

I know that my purchase habits can be influenced by marketing and there is a half-gallon of blue milk in my fridge that proves it.

In 1975 somebody on the set of “Star Wars” decided to put some blue food coloring in some milk and make Mark Hamill drink as a bit of world-building to demonstrate how different-yet-similar living an on alien world could be.

Nearly 50 years later that scene still has enough marketing juice enough to inspire a product line of limited edition 1% Lowfat Vanilla Blue Milk.

Generally speaking, I don’t drink a lot of milk. I’ve got nothing against it, but it’s not something that I regularly buy. I only ever use it when I need it specifically for cooking and often struggle to finish off the rest before it spoils.

I would not normally buy a half-gallon of milk purely for the sake of drinking it, but color it blue and put lightsabers on the label and you’ve got yourself a sale.

Now, lest you think I’m just some weak willed simpleton that’ll buy anything with the right branding, know there is a method to my madness.

After all, just because I don’t normally drink milk doesn’t mean I don’t drink. Branded product or not, groceries are groceries. I have to have sustenance one way or another, so why not get something that also allows me to pretend that I’m having breakfast on Tatooine?

I spend a lot of time wandering around the grocery store trying to figure out what I want so anything that can tilt the scale is appreciated.

That’s where the power of advertising, marketing, and branding deals really comes into play. Not by convincing somebody to buy something they don’t need, but in serving as a tie-breaker in a world of countless options.

Sure, the novelty is fun and it’s fun to post pictures of me drinking blue milk to my Star Wars friends group, but the bigger sell is just making it easy to decide where some of my calories are coming from for a few weeks.

And hey, it turns out the product was worth the purchase. It’s like drinking vanilla pudding. Branding may have determined my first purchase, but the smooth taste had me coming back twice over.

At the end of the day, I’m a “path of least resistance” kind of guy. Be it a sale, a limited time branding promotion, or a coin flip, I’m just about whatever gets me in and out of the grocery store without having to think too much about what’s for dinner.

– Travis Fischer is a news writer for the Charles City Press and will probably try poutine when somebody finally decides to use Wolverine to sell it.

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