March 30, 2005

Can't Live Without Geography

Hallo... dug this up from the ashes of November 1999 - unedited letter I wrote to an ezine...

Enjoyed your article, “George W.’s Naiveté” (M. Faiz Rehman, Nov. 12) and found myself nodding in agreement as I recalled my own encounters with those who haven’t the faintest idea about geography beyond their borders. Before I set foot in America, I was well prepared to expect questions, and I felt I was on a crusade to destroy all the myths and re-educate my college mates! After a while, it got tiring and a group of us decided to print t-shirts for the International Students with 10 questions on the front and their 10 respective answers on the back.

Unfortunately, we never got around to that mission due to financial constraints; however, we did print and sell a t-shirt with a world map and some slogans reminding our geography-deficit colleagues that a world beyond the US of A does exist. That was our mini-crusade!

Many moons ago, my father was on a flight to somewhere and seated beside an American businessman - a famous chap from a famous company, definitely not your average Joe from the barnyard. The American was amazed that his foreign flight companion knew the state he was from in the USA and even those around it. The American challenged the foreigner to name some other states.

Without hesitation, he named every state in the USA and even all those provinces and territories up in Canada! World geography was something he had learned in grade school. The American admitted he could not name all 50 states, and he regretted not being taught world geography at school, but he enjoyed his business trips to Asia and was eager to learn more about this part of the globe.

Those who seek political office should know for a fact, that they will be walking into the face of world affairs and dealing with their counterparts virtually on a daily basis. It is deplorable that politicians such as George W. are confined to politics that perhaps do not extend beyond their shores.

Maybe a few sessions at the games, “Diplomacy” or “Trivial Pursuit” will shoot up their IQ - Information Quotient. My college mates don’t need it, the businessman on the flight does not need it, but if anyone needs to be up on world geography and affairs, it is definitely that sole politician who will head and control a world power!

EZINE = Pakistan Link


March 6, 2005

Cry-Baby Ads Loose

Hallo... I do not like comparison advertising! When I see such ads, I think for example, why does Colgate toothpaste have to tell me that Crest toothpaste is not a good product and that it will not clean my teeth well? Why doesn't Colgate tell me how great their product is and how it will make my teeth shine - without mentioning Crest?

The 'Cry-Baby Ad' as I call it, makes me lean away from a product. I don't want to hear why Tide detergent is better than Cheer, or why Post cereal is better than General Mills. I would rather hear the positives and strengths of a product, than the negatives of a competitor's product. I want to hear what XYZ product can do for me and how it stands out of the crowd, without dragging the crowd into the equation and through the mud.

After a little Consumer Psychology research on the net, I found a solution: Expansion Advertising - wow! The research of Wansink and Ray studied 3 types of expansion ads:

1 - Noncomparison ads simply state that a target brand is a reasonable choice for the target situation ("Use Arm & Hammer Baking Soda as a refrigerator deodorant").

2 - Product comparison ads associate the target brand with the target situation by positioning or comparing the target brand with another product that is already associated with that situation ("Eat Orville Redenbacher Popcorn as an afternoon snack instead of potato chips").

3 - Situation comparison ads associate the use of the target brand in a new situation with its use in a more familiar situation ("Special K breakfast cereal is as good at snack time as it is at breakfast").

Conclusion: Situation Comparison Ads were found to be more persuasive and they encourage the consumer to focus on the benefits of the product. Oh yes, this is how I like marketing marketed to me!