Category Archives: American culture

Consumer Response to Brand Discounts

Thanks to @MarketingProfs on Twitter, I was directed to a piece by Paul Williams – “Can Your Brand Afford to Discount?”  The main concern projected in the piece is that a lack of creativity on the part of companies trains consumers to accept discounts as norms.

The guiding philosophy right now seems to be “desperate times call for desperate measures.”  Survival discounts offered by companies do cause confusion.  Discounts communicate that the product/service really is only worth that much and that the companies were overcharging previously.  Then again, in tough times, if someone wants me to buy something unnecessary, they’re going to have to offer a substantial discount to secure my purchase.

On the other hand, I’m quite irritated to see gas prices so low. Not that I’m a fan of high gas prices, but I thought the gas prices would finally force Americans to change their consumption habits.

I think companies have been taking advantage of the fact that so many Americans have been willing to go into debt to obtain luxury items and other things that are just not important. I’m kicking myself for it now.

Throw in the fact that credit card companies are now changing APRs “due to no fault on the part of the consumer,” and it’s nearly impossible to buy anything regardless of the discount.  Discover upped my APR to 24.9; I told them I was going to cancel my card and pay off the balance; the jerk on the phone offered me 19.9 because that would at least be “going the right direction.” I again told him I’d just assume cancel the account and he offered me 1.9 for 6 months.  (Ok, so I’ll cancel it within 6 months.)

Yep, it’s pretty tough to buy anything these days… huge discounts or no.  And I can tell you that when I do buy something, I’d rather buy something locally created or produced.  That makes it harder for Target, Starbucks,  Outback Steakhouse, and other “brands” to attract my business.


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Filed under American culture, Economy

Why Whopper Virgins Offend

Thanks to Twitter I became aware of this recent post from the Inquisitr: Whopper Virgins: it doesn’t get much more offensive than this.  I also read about it at the LA Times Blog the NY Daily News.  And oooh, you can also see an introductory slide show at  Neat.

According to the article at NY Daily News:

The burger chain has launched a new, documentary-style ad campaign in which remote villagers in poor nations such as Thailand, Romania and Greenland pick between the twin titans of American fast food, the Whopper and the Big Mac. The name of the campaign: “Whopper Virgins.”

Why do people in “remote” areas need to be exposed to substandard food-like products such as the Whopper and the Big Mac?  Hasn’t the introduction of fast food in foreign countries had a negative impact on overall health?  Why should “poor nations” be targeted by Burger King and McDonalds?  Do they think we’re so dummm as to see it as an altruistic endeavor?  Seeing these people in their traditional garb trying to make sense of a burger just gives me the creeps.  There’s a reason that ground beef is so cheap, right?!  And that’s what we’re unleashing upon indigent populations in remote areas of the world?

My other issue is with the use of the term virgin.   The descriptor is provocative, don’t you think?  Oooo, virgins.  Oooo, I gotta pop that cherry.  Oooo, virgins are so pure and unadulterated.  Virgins are naive and trusting.  Virgins need experience, and there’s always someone there ready to give it to ’em.  Poor virgins don’t know what they’re doing.
“Ooo, so and so is still a virgin?  How sad.”
“Ooo, so and so is still a virgin?  Well not for long, heh heh heh.”
“Of course so and so is a virgin.  S/he is so unattractive.”
“I only f–k virgins.”

Well, that’s exactly what Burger King is doing . . . “f–king virgins.”  Over at Inquisitr, many people who are not opposed to the ad campaign suggest that it’s harmless.  Or that it’s a good idea.  Maybe.  But personally, I think that’s an unexamined opinion.

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Filed under American culture