Selling New And Improved Brands Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

Going into a store to buy either a new shirt or some cough medicine, the decision on what is bought is affected by the brands or even the advertisements customers have been subjected to. Branding and the marketing of those brands affect people as they make decisions on what they want to spend their money on. In “A Brand by Any Other Name,” by Douglas Rushkoff and in “With These Words I Can Sell You Anything” by William Lutz, the authors write about how consumers are influenced by different marketing practices. Rushkoff and Lutz explain the ways that shoppers can be manipulated just by what they read or hear and buy things just because they think they are getting the best or the coolest. ...view middle of the document...

He describes that the word “help” means “to aid or assist,” but with a claim after the word customers sometimes interpret “help” to mean “conquer, stop, eliminate, end, solve, heal, cure or anything else.” (399 Lutz) He uses an example of an advertisement saying “helps relieve cold symptoms fast” that, after each word is broken down to what they actually mean, really claims nothing at all. (399 Lutz)
During his essay, Douglas Rushkoff describes that as times have changed so too is the media consumers are exposed to, from newspapers to television and on to the internet, young people are subjected to advertising in many different forms. As these different forms of media develop and change so does the marketing strategies towards children. Rushkoff describes how Pokemon, “a TV show, video game and product line where the object is to collect as many trading cards as possible,” uses multiple forms of media to sell their products. (387 Rushkoff) The Pokemon card game is all about collecting monsters that are better with the TV show and video games showing stories of monsters a child does not have. The children then spend money on opaquely packaged cards to get that one card they feel they need and many cards they already have, not even realizing they are buying things “they don’t even want.” (388 Rushkoff) Until the children realize or grow out of it, the Pokemon brand will keep them looking for the next better monster and will keep making money.
Better, new and improved Pokemon monsters fit right in with what William Lutz is saying about weasel words. Lutz actually says that “almost always used together,” “new and improved” are the two most commonly used words on merchandise packaging. (400 Lutz) Lutz explains that the word “new” can only be used for a certain amount of time and really doesn’t mean the product is any better. To be called new a product has to have “a material functional change,” and to be called improved it means that the product “changed” or is “different from before”. (400-401 Lutz) Companies modify their products ever so slightly just to use these strong marketing words. In order to challenge to reader to think critically Lutz also questions how much better the improved product is, what was wrong with the old one, and does the new one cost more? (402 Lutz)
As kids get older,...

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