The Power of Marketing

I was at Urban Outfitters recently looking for the type of quirky and unique gifts that they usually carry for some upcoming birthdays.  Then, I spotted what was an amazing marketing technique: make people spend money for nothing!

How did they manage to do this?

I’ve always like to look at the “Grow your own <insert noun>” where you stick the little figure in the water and watch it expand like magic!  However, this time, I found a package that said “Grow your own invisible boyfriend”.  Basically, it consisted of cardboard packaging with nothing in it.  And they’re charging $6 for it.

Funny?  Yes.  $6 worth of funny?  No way!

Most of the time, when I’m out shopping for friends, it’s a struggle to balance what I think is a unique fun gift with what I think is way overpriced.  In this case, it wasn’t a struggle at all.  I chuckled a little, put it back on the rack, and headed in the opposite direction.

This reminds me of the children’s story: The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The man was so blinded by what others were saying and advertising about his fabulous new set of “clothes” that he didn’t notice he was parading down the street naked until a little boy managed to point it out.  Sadly, the fact that they were able to actually sell it in the stores for $6 means there are people out there willing to buy it for a good laugh.  I hope someone can point the foolishness of that kind of shopping choices out to them.

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