For some inexplicable reason, some brands immediately steal consumers' hearts while others seem doomed to remain in the shadow. Market researchers and sociologists have for years been hard at work to trace the reason, which prompts consumers either to react strongly
or show a total disregard for a definite product. So far those efforts have led to no tangible solution. It is now a general understanding that an effective sales relies on the secret weapon of intuition rather than strictly defined rules. But what is the major underlying factor (which producers are eager to know) that makes a product irresistibly attractive on the market and gets consumers raving about it? Answers to this question are varied. So are the inspiring stories about the cute tricks employed by various companies to cause enormous bulges in their sales.
For many years it was the firm belief of Tefal Company that its novel technology would make a real breakthrough by allowing avid fans of deep fried foods to forget about fat and oil. But these efforts to impress the buyer were not rewarded with a quicker sale until Tefal employed a number of people who made the smartest move by focusing, rather than on fat-free cooking, on a non- stick coating for pans making household tasks easier and washing results better. After advertising this fact widely, armies of housewives stormed Tefal stores augmenting the company's incomes.
Mars Company believed that Snickers - one of its biggest brands in the worldwide confectionery portfolio - would revolutionize well-established dining traditions. Mars claimed that soup, a much-despised item on the menu, could be freely substituted by a Snickers bar making a full-calorie dinner. But the gloomy prospect of kids exchanging soup for chocolates prompted violent protest from mothers. The Snickers project was rescued from going haywire by BBDO Agency explaining that Snickers can only be a substitute for soup if you have to lunch outdoors, not indoors. Snickers has since become a staple snack in the diet of teenagers.
Is there any need to shampoo twice? Of course not. This recommendation, which was included into Procter&Gamble shampoo instructions at the insistence of one 20*” century marketing genius was just a way to trick consumers into applying shampoo twice, which meant they would spend double on shampoos. Shampooing twice did not make hair any cleaner but it definitely doubled sales.
In 1980 Timberland faced a grave crisis. It produced shoes of high quality but twice as cheap as its rival company - Topsider. The combination of quality product and low price could only be a boost for sales but... Timberland shoes remained on store shelves to gather dust and did not draw buyers. This lean period brought “Timberlanders” to a moment of decision: they sharply increased the price, even above that of Topsider. The result exceeded all expectations: Timberlapd shoes began to sell out. That confirms the authenticity of statements by David Ogilvy: “The higher the price of goods, the more desirable they become in the eyes of the buyer".
Parliament cigarettes went through the same ordeal. They were cheaper than Marlboro though ranked among the world's premium cigarettes with newly upgraded filters. When Parliament sales dropped to an all-time low, the company was forced to withdraw its cigarettes from the market. After a lapse of one year, Parliament reasserted itself with new vigour. The key to its success proved to be a price tag higher than Marlboro's.
Here comes a story about Frank, a 21-year-old youngster raised in poverty who managed to lay his hand on 65 million dollars. Frank was a painfully shy sales clerk, who would almost faint whenever a customer approached him and asked how much something cost. This faint-heartedness was spotted by the storeowner. He punished Frank by leaving him alone in the store and warned him that he would be sacked if his daily turnover fell below the minimum. Frank decided to put old unwanted merchandise out for the shopping public at the fixed price of five cents. At the end of the day his cash receipts exceeded the weekly norm. A sticker “Everything Five Cents” had worked its magic on shoppers sending them into a spending frenzy. Frank resigned from this storeowner and opened his own shop. In 1919, the Woolworth empire consisted of thousands of shops, and Frank's personal fortune was about 65 million. His former employer went broke.
At the end of the 19lh century Londoners indulged their passion for alcohol in brandy, rum and gin. Whiskey was totally absent from their drinking menu. Thomas Dewar then devised a cunning plan. He hired fake shoppers who visited various pubs and demanded Dewar's whiskey. Naturally, it was not available, and they left. Then Dewar himself would appear at the bar and offer to sign a contract on the supply of whiskey. The plan worked. The whiskey became immensely popular. But Thomas Dewar did not seem satisfied with this achievement and, in 1892, he went on a trip around the world to find new markets and promote his product through the same method. He even wrote a book titled “A Walk around the World."
The Camel cigarette brand owes its popularity to a subtle marketing technique, which in 1913 was viewed as an innovation. Deciding that the image of the company began to publish cryptic messages in the newspapers three weeks before the release of the cigarettes. “Camels” - read the first one. A few days later, another message, “Camels are coming” and then, “Tomorrow there'll be more camels in this town than all Asia and Africa combined”. Only on the day of the official release of the cigarettes was everything revealed and the intrigued population finally learned the truth: “Camel cigarettes are here!”.
IKEA furniture widely popular in Europe did not find buyers in the United States of America. Research showed that Americans objected to the modest size of its furniture. IKEA increased the dimensions and measured up to the expectations of Americans.
Who got the idea of designing Chupa Chups lollipops? Candy manufacturers once noticed that mothers were reluctant to buy candies for their kids but it was not out of health concerns. The annoying thing was that kids got sticky hands and clothes from melting sweets. It led manufacturers to design a perfect sweet treat: a bonbon with a stick, which saved moms the trouble of doing extra washing-up. Now kids' pleas for Chupa Chups never fall on deaf ears.
By 1924 Marlboro was advertised as a woman's cigarette based on the slogan "Mild As May". Hollywood star Mae West was recruited to endorse the brand. A filter with a red stripe was introduced to hide telltale lipstick smears and protect teeth from yellowing. But the brand faltered. Smoking was not then regarded as morally correct behavior among women. Philip Morris enlisted the help of the advertising wizard Leo Burnett. The brand was redesigned to symbolize masculinity. Leo Burnett distilled manly imagery into the rugged, worldly and tough-looking cowboy, which betokened the Americans' national identity. Its flip-top package asserted Marlboro as the world's number one cigarette.
And lastly, diamonds. In 1948 the diamond company De Beers decided to increase the volume of its sales. The fact is that women love to show off diamonds, which men have to pay for. Taking this note, the company featured black and white posters with captions such as: “It removes the headache from 1888”, “Think about it. Divorce is more expensive”, “No, your wife did not pay for this advertisement (But she told us which newspaper you read)”. The idea of the advertisement campaign was to remind men of their chance to remove many serious problems by just buying diamonds for their ladies. There have been no reports of the removal of problems but De Beers definitely pushed its sales figures up, which means that some people had their headaches relieved.