Goodbye to a wonderful advertising observer

Stuart Elliott, longtime advertising columnist for the New York Times, has announced he is taking advantage of a buy-out being tendered by Times management and leaving the paper. While I have never been a regular Times subscriber, I have in fact subscribed to various digital feeds from time to time and I have had occasion more than once to bring my students’ attention to the wit and wisdom of this sage and intrepid journalist covering the beat where I make so much of my living. I will miss you, Stuart.

Here is the link for the details:

The psychology of stupidity

Look at this YouTube video:

And these young people are allowed to vote. What the hell is happening throughout their K-12 “education” that allows them to be THIS ignorant??? But when it comes to Hollywood personalities, they get A plus. Sizzle has definitely eaten steak for lunch. What do you think is responsible for this kind of pitiful, pitiful display?

Let’s talk profit motive versus customer satisfaction

Media psychology is about a lot more than just how ads and people interact. It’s also about the whole marketing process and its impact on consumers in terms of the psychological toll that may be taken.

Recently Procter & Gamble decided to discontinue its spray-on laundry pre-wash treatment for stains, Tide Stain Release. I complained to P&G about it, saying that I had seen their once and now-again CEO A.G. Laffley at a Drucker Day event in which he proclaimed, “The customer is now in charge.” He sounded like he meant it. In my complaint I said this was clearly a good product that delivered on its promise. If P&G really cared about customers, it would bring it back. Well, I got their reply. Here it is, verbatim:

- – – – – – -

“Thanks for contacting Tide, Greg.

“I’m sorry that the Tide Stan (sic) Release Spray is no longer available.

“Generally, decisions to start or stop making products are based on consumer demand, so feedback like yours is extremely valuable. Please be assured I’m sharing your disappointment with the rest of our team.

“Since the product you loved is gone, you may want to try Tide Stain Release Pacs.  I think you’ll really like them. You may also want to check our brand websites for information about our current products – you might find a new favorite!

“Your satisfaction means a great deal to us so I am sending a money saving coupon for your next purchase.  It will arrive via postal mail in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

“Thanks again for writing.

“Tide Team

“Need to get back in touch?  Please do not change the subject line, just hit reply.  This makes sure we receive your message.”

- – – – – – -

I sent a reply. Here it is:

“Your reply is NOT helpful at all.

“You know darn well that your now-discontinued product was a good seller. You dumped it because your profit motive moved ahead of your customer-satisfaction motive. Clearly, the problem with Stain Release spray was that because it was used very sparingly on isolated spots, a bottle of it lasted too long. So instead of giving it to us in that form, you decided to give it to us in a form that got used up at several times the rate. If I were Laffley, I would fire the miserable bastard product manager in charge there.

“You guys have a lot of nerve, and I hope like hell it comes to hurt you where it counts—your bottom line!

“Gregory F. (Greg) Zerovnik, EMBA, PhD”

- – – – – – -

I am now trying to start a crusade that will embarrass P&G to the point that it PROVES the customer really is in charge and brings back Tide Stain Release. I hope anyone who reads this post will spread the word on social media and let’s see if we can make an impact.


2014 Emmy for Best Commercial

Emotion trumps everything else when it comes to picking the #1 commercial for 2014. The five spots clearly show how important emotional appeals have become in contemporary advertising.

Emotion is a complex subject when it comes to looking at its bio-neurological makeup and manifestations, yet remarkable simple when it is used well, as these commercials demonstrate.

Preschoolers are more comfortable with technology

According to a recent study ( preschoolers do better than college students at figuring out how to use gadgets. It seems they have not yet had their natural creativity blunted by conformity imposed by all the usual suspects. The psychology of learning is a core part of the psychology of media use and influence, and I would argue that the more creative one is, the less one is likely to be unduly influenced by mediated messages. What do you think?

Neuromarketing Makes News

Marketers Use Neuroscience in Package Design to Influence Consumers Subconsciously | Adweek

Adweek has just run an article about neuromarketing and using symbolism in emotion-evoking ways as a packaging tool. It’s a good read.

Longhand note taking is best!

Longhand note taking is best!

So, it turns out that using a laptop or tablet is NOT such a good substitute for old-fashioned longhand note-taking because you no longer “process” the content!


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