The Decoy Effect is a simple but powerful trick that marketers use to influence you to buy something that is bigger or more expensive than you need or want. I fall for this every time I go to the movies and think I'm going to buy the medium popcorn but end up getting the large because it costs just a few cents more. The medium popcorn is the decoy that nudges you to buy the large. But social psychologists have also studied the Decoy Effect outside retail environments. From the BBC News:
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The decoy effect might also influence our voting in elections, and recruitment decisions. In these kinds of situations, the “decoy” may appear by accident rather than having been deliberately placed in the selection, but if you do come across two candidates who are similar, but one is slightly superior to the other, it will heighten your regard for them compared to the other competitors...
On a more positive note, scientists in the UK have also started to consider whether the decoy effect might be used to encourage people to make healthier life choices. Christian Von Wagner, a reader in behavioural science and health at University College London, for instance, recently explored people’s intentions to undergo a vital – but unpleasant – screening for colorectal cancer. He found that given the choice between arranging an appointment for the screening or not having the procedure at all, many people chose not to go. But if he also presented them with a third option – an appointment at a less convenient hospital with a longer waiting time, ie, the decoy – the uptake was greater.
There's a new wine-and-cheese pairing in town. But it's not real cheese, it's one with Cheez-It snack crackers. Yep, for a limited time, Cheez-It and red-blended House Wine are being sold together in the same packaging, a box.
Summer is full of moments to grab a glass of wine and your favorite cheesy snack. Beginning July 25, you can purchase a limited-edition House Wine & Cheez-It box at OriginalHouseWine.com for $25, while supplies last. If you miss the chance to purchase a box, you can still enjoy mixing and matching Cheez-It and House Wine pairings on your own all summer long.
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This is quite a sight! At Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington, a bunch of folks in inflatable T-Rex costumes struggled to make their way down the horse-racing track this past weekend. Triguard Pest Control puts on this annual race, which serves as a terrific promotion of the racetrack. This video was placed on Facebook late Friday night and has already garnered over 195K shares.
Here's a video of the dinos racing back in 2017:
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Every now and again, a company will come up with a product "innovation" that seems to deprive people of their free will, driving great masses of internet users to look for Pokemon, or tend virtual farms, or buy now with one-click, or flock to Upworthy-style "You won't believe what happened next" stories, or be stampeded into buying something because there are "only two left" and "14 people have bought this item in the past 24 hours."
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Kraft has launched "Salad Frosting" as part of a jokey marketing campaign about the lies that parents tell their kids. Because, y'know, deceit is funny and those kids who already like ranch dressing will be too dumb to recognize that this is the same thing while those who can't stand the stuff will suddenly develop a taste for it because of the "fun" packaging. From the press release:
“Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it,” says Sergio Eleuterio Head of Marketing for Kraft, “Simple innocent lies are not only part of parenthood, but a true tactic used by parents everywhere. Kraft Salad 'Frosting' is one lie you won’t feel bad telling your kids.”
According to a recent study, Ranch dressing is the most popular dressing in the United States*** and kids will eat anything with frosting, right? It’s a match made for dinnertime bliss. Now, convincing children to eat salad, broccoli and carrots may be a whole lot easier. Just add Kraft Salad “Frosting.”
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With the help of her mom, a Girl Scout in Colorado has turned Samoas into "Momoas." Cookie sales have skyrocketed for fifth-grader (and "Top Cookie CEO") Charlotte Holmberg of Highlands Ranch since she and her mom started gluing a shirtless photo of beefcake Aquaman star Jason Momoa on Samoa boxes. Charlotte's mom, a marketing professional, was inspired by a meme photo she saw on the internet of Momoa and started designing new box art.
...so her and Charlotte got to work printing out the pictures and gluing them on dozens of boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
They put it on Facebook, and you can guess what happened next.
"The moms are getting really excited and they're saying that they need them," Charlotte said.
Even other Girl Scouts are hitting up Charlotte, asking to buy some. Now you know why they call her the Top Cookie CEO.
They say Thin Mints are the most popular Girl Scout cookie. That might now be a thing of the past.
A statement has not been issued from Momoa.
images via Girl Scouts of Colorado
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Someone over at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's marketing department has a sick sense of humor. For Philly fliers, the fast food chain is offering "Emotional Support Chicken" which are specially-marked, chicken-shaped carrier boxes filled with, yep, fried chicken.
The box reads:
This chicken provides comfort and nourishment during stressful air travel. Unlike other chicken, it is marinated in real Louisiana spices for 12 hours and must be permitted to fly without restriction. Do not leave unattended, as Popeyes' is not responsible for lost or stolen chicken.
From its press release:
Emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship, especially during a highly stressful time like air travel. However, according to recent headlines, some travelers are pushing the envelope with the types of animals they try to bring on flights and classify as "emotional support animals," including the likes of peacocks, squirrels and tarantulas. Knowing this, Popeyes decided to launch its new "Emotional Support Chicken" to bring holiday travelers some humor to what is one of the most stressful places to be during the holidays – the airport.
"Emotional Support Chicken" is ONLY available at the Gate C31 Popeyes in the Philadelphia airport.
image via Popeyes
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The medical world is no stranger to shilling (see, for example, the kickbacks that Purdue Pharma paid doctors who helped hook people on Oxycontin, generating billions in blood-money for the "philanthropist" Sackler family), and doctors are cashing in on the social media influencer market, selling everything from Quaker oats to deodorant.
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Sausage brand Jimmy Dean is offering wrapping paper that smells like their product line as part of a promotional "recipe gift exchange." To get some of this sausage-scented wrapping paper, you just have to cook up a recipe using their sausage and submit it to their exchange. You can then pick the wrapping paper, or one of the other branded things they offer, as your gift. Then you can enjoy the magic of huffing the meaty-smelling presents under the tree. Or not.
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Instagram influencers are easy marks for phishers: they are unlikely to be security-savvy, are easily taken-in by marketing patter, have huge easily-grifted audiences, and Instagram won't even give them their accounts back afterward. Taylor Lorenz:
For young influencers with no direct contacts at Instagram or Facebook, it can be nearly impossible to retrieve a stolen account. Hackers will change the contact email address and phone number and reset the username so the account is impossible to find. Then, they’ll run ads on it until they can sell the whole page off for a large price, sometimes more than a hundred thousand dollars.
Faisal Shafique, a college student who Instagrams under the handle @Fact, said that he earns roughly $300,000 a year from posting sponsored content for brands like TikTok and Fashion Nova. When Brooks seized control of his account several weeks ago, it put those brand deals in jeopardy, potentially costing him his livelihood. Shafique was able to retrieve his account back before it was sold off, but he estimates he would have lost a half-a-million-dollar property if he hadn’t.
See also The Rise of the Nanoinfluencer -- people with smaller but still exploitable social media followings who get paid in care packages of the (sometimes expensive) stuff they post about. Read the rest
I'm not sure what's funnier about these Halloween dog treats: the fact that they exist or that they're clled "Bits O' Brains"!
My friend Lisa just spotted these at a local Bay Area Target and I was amused, to say the least. I mean, the dog on the package has his own brains exposed. Are we feeding dogs the (all natural, soft and chewy) brains of other dogs? I kid, of course. (I went to the Blue Dog Bakery website for an ingredients list and could not find the product at all.)
I mean, I knew Thanksgiving dog food was a thing but Halloween dog food is new and hilarious to me. I was going to make a joke about how they'll probably make Easter dog food next but they beat me to the punch.
Thanks, Lisa! Read the rest
Poolboy nails one of the three most pernicious forms of marketing trends: the ironic self-deprecating brand run by some douchey social media manager: Read the rest
Dunkin' Donuts will still sell donuts but, as of January, shall only be Dunkin'.
According to CNN, "The makeover is part of Dunkin' Brand's efforts to relabel itself as a 'beverage-led' company that focuses on coffees, teas, speedy service and to-go food including -— but not limited to — doughnuts."
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Mattress company Casper opened The Dreamery
in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. For $25, you get a 45 minute session in one of the nap pods. You can even borrow a pair of pajamas for your snooze. And of course after you pay for this demo of Casper mattresses, you can buy your very own at their shop just around the corner! From The Dreamery:
Uniquely designed for rest, each Nook is a perfectly private, quiet pod with the most comfortable bed imaginable (a Casper mattress, of course). All bedding is freshly laundered for each new dreamer.
The Nook also features:
• Auto-fading lights
• A pendant light for reading
• Sound absorbing back wall
• Ventilation for airflow
• A bedside shelf with outlets
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They're not dog bowls or flower pots, though DEVO's iconic red plastic vacuum-formed helmets, their "Energy Domes," have been mistaken for such things.
On the fan-site DEVO-OBSESSO, DEVO's co-founder and bass player Gerald ("Jerry") Casale explains their original intent (outside links mine):
It was designed according to ancient ziggurat mound proportions used in votive worship. Like the mounds it collects energy and recirculates it. In this case the Dome collects the Orgone energy that escapes from the crown of the human head and pushes it back into the Medulla Oblongata for increased mental energy. It's very important that you use the foam insert (which is included with every Dome when purchased from ClubDevo.com), or better yet, get a plastic hardhat liner, adjust it to your head size and affix it with duct tape or Super Glue to the inside of the Dome. This allows the Dome to "float" just above the cranium and thus do its job. Unfortunately, sans foam insert or hardhat liner, the recirculation of energy WILL NOT occur.
Mark Mothersbaugh, the band's co-founder, lead singer and keyboardist, shared with Fecal Face in 2008:
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We did the red energy dome, which was useful besides being an icon it was a useful icon. You probably know this very well, but your orgone energy goes out the top of your head...and it dissipates out the top, but if you wear an energy dome it recycles that energy. It comes back down and showers back down on you and, among other things, you remain manly, shall we say, for maybe another 150 years of your life, probably.
I'm no futurist but I think I've spotted the future of beverage-dispensing devices. Marin County Fair vendor Phil's Lemonade is selling lemonade-filled (philled?) jetpacks for $19.99 a pop. Phil'er up!
Previously: Deep-fried filet mignon, spaghetti donuts, and "unicorn-specific" foods debut at the San Diego County Fair
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If your kid gets fined for running an unlicensed lemonade stand this summer, or has to pay to get a license to operate a stand, Country Time will pay the first $300 in expenses, to a maximum of $60,000 in fines between now and Aug 31 (sorry, Labor Day parade lemonade stands, you're SOL). It's a genius promotion, which is not something I say often. (via Kottke)
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