Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Brilliant marketing ploy with only a minimum amount of evil.
The Trader Joe's reusable bag.
99 cents. In 2011, that is officially ridiculously cheap, the way stuff costing nickels and dimes used to be when I was a sprout. Cheap is not evil.
Sturdy, cheap re-cycled plastic. Recycled is not evil.
You paid to carry around the company logo, so there's some evil.
If you go to TJs with a bag you can sign up for a lottery for a $25 gift certificate, but Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four made too deep an impression on me. I'm not convinced anyone actually wins these lotteries. So, also some evil.
But when I go to Lucky, they give me a nickel off for any re-usable bag, even one with somebody else's logo on it. These things pay for themselves in about a month for me, and I keep them way longer than a month.
So TJ's has competitors pay customers to buy advertising for TJ's. Evil, but they have cut the consumer out of the "who gets screwed?" equation, so significantly not evil.
And then there's the brilliance of finding a distinctive bag design and sticking with it. I can spot one of these bags one hundred yards away, easy peasy. I expect that you can as well. This is marketing genius up there with The Swoosh and the Golden Arches.
So, the power of marketing used to save the consumer money and reduce the amount of wasted paper and plastic in the world. In the Matty Boy version of this equation, this is big on the plus side with only a tiny residue of evil.
And to toot my own horn just a li'l bit, when Matty Boy makes an equation, he gets it right at least nine times out of ten.