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Men Easy Targets for Marketing Gurus
So there I was, wandering down the Personal Cleanliness aisle of the Big Cheap Department Store, when my eyes fell upon a bottle advertising itself not as soap, or detergent, or a cleaning product of any kind but as– get ready – a Scent System.
Sounds like something you’d find on a skunk. Or a good name for that uncle of yours who is always pulling the old “pull my finger” joke at family reunions.
But no, there it was, next to the usual array of bar soaps and five-dollar-a-gallon aftershaves: A Scent System.
Only a man could have come up with something so ridiculous.
“System” is a magic word to guys. There are lots of these. “Turbo” is a magic word. So is “bold.” Advertisers and marketers these all the time to sucker guys into buying stuff that they don’t need for way more than they ought to pay. Snack foods, for example. I’m pretty sure it’s possible to buy a Giant (another magic word) bag of cheese puffs that are now Turbo-Charged with Bold New Flavor. Never mind that they’re really just the same old cheese puffs with a little bit of cayenne sprinkled on them. They’re Turbo and Bold. Guys love that kind of stuff.
And so it is with “system.” The word triggers a response hidden deep in guy DNA, a natural attraction for plans and strategies, which usually translates into a keen ability to make things more complicated than they really need to be.
Think about it. Every time someone “reorganizes” the work flow at the office, what happens? Things get more complicated and what used to take a day to accomplish now takes a day and a half. That’s a System Loving Guy having what he considers to be a perfect day. Perfect if designed by Rube Goldberg, I mean.
So what does all this have to do with getting clean? Nothing. But it has everything to do with selling soap.
Scent System, to a guy, conjures up this image – a squadron of tiny little scent specialists deployed onto his body for the purpose of keeping him Socially Acceptable.
“All right men, time for a perimeter check. Neck? Check. Torso? Check. South of the Border? Check. Feet? Oh, my. Feet, we’ll get back to you.”
The squad leader sits in Scent Control monitoring the situation and sending Scent Troops where they’re needed.
“All right, he’s heading to the boss’s office. Looks chancy. Yep, he’s nervous. Let’s reinforce those armpits STAT!”
“Pretty girl ahead. All hands on deck! All hands on deck! We need a full-on response here, people. Make him fragrant!”
“Man your battle stations! Man your battle stations! He’s going to the gym! Repeat: He’s going to the gym!” This is not a drill! This is not a drill!”
And so on.
It is, of course, ridiculous. Scent system? Please. It’s shower and that’s all is. The only thing systematic about it is the way marketers use a magic word to make sure guys grab it and throw it into their shopping carts purely from a reflex they don’t even understand. Right along with the Turbo paper plates and Bold new cat litter.
Which, of course, is what I did. I bought a bottle of scent system.
What can I say? I’m a guy.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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