The 3 Cs of Modern Day Marketing

Many of us might be familiar with the 4 Ps marketing. But what are the 3 Cs?
They are: COMPLICATE, CONFUSE AND CON. Read on to find out more.

The other day I went to a super market and as I was roaming around looking lost, one sales girl representing a brand approached me and said – ‘Sir, would you like to try something that is rich in MUFA & PUFA?’ I said – ‘No,thank you, I know what I am looking for’ and proceeded. As some of you might have guessed, she was talking about vegetable oils. As I reached an adjacent rack, another sales girl said -‘We have oils that are made by LO SORB Technology which contain zero cholesterol and zero trans fat’. Again I declined the offer and proceeded.
I am sure most of us laymen would be completely lost at the kind of technical mumbo jumbo that is being thrown at us with the deliberate idea of Complicating the issue. The poor gullible customer has no clue as to the relative merits of each product on sale and ends up buying whatever brand can be recalled at the time of purchase.
What is ‘Lo Sorb’, what is trans fat or MUFA or PUFA? In order to appreciate the differences and see through their strategy, one needs to be more than a chemistry literate. Being a Chemistry professional and a little sceptical by nature, I tend to take every opportunity to debunk myths. And I got a perfect opportunity recently, when I met an elderly woman on my flight from Mumbai to Chennai. She is a well known Nutrition expert practicing in Chennai. During our conversation, I pointed out to her that MUFA or PUFA doesn’t make any sense to an Indian customer because of the way we cook. Oil gets heated to high temperatures when exposed to direct flame. And under such conditions any oil containing highly desirable PUFA or MUFA (including the most expensive Cardia oil with the highest MUFA content)will eventually get converted to an undesirable Trans fat. She looked surprised and said that I ought to publicize this to the general public. Well, that is a tall order!
I also told her that any simple double filtered oil (other than coconut or palm oil)is good enough as long as we consume limited quantities. It could be Saffola, Sunflower, Rice bran, Soya or even Groundnut Oil. A simple double filtered oil will retain all natural antioxidants unlike the refined oils sold in the market(please note the emphasis is on FILTRATION as against REFINING). Such oils are also cheaper. But alas, such a simple oil is just not available in most of the supermarkets. What the industry does today is to extra refine oils which removes all the natural goodness of antioxidants.Then artificial antioxidant additives are added.

Another example of complicating and confusing is that of anti-dandruff shampoos. I know for a fact that most of the anti-dandruff shampoos contain an active ingredient called ZINC PYRITHIONE in their formulations. How can then any one brand of shampoo claim superior performance over a competitor’s shampoo? In fact I never found any difference in performance between, say, HEAD & SHOULDERS and CLEAR-ALL and I am not surprised. Likewise, all black coloring hair dyes contain the same ingredient P-PHENYLENE DIAMINE(PPD). So, there is no case for any brand claiming its product to be distinctive and superior. All brands uniformly contain the same carcinogenic PPD. I am not scaring you. It is a fact. That is the reason why the manufacturers warn us against applying the dye, if there is any abrasion or cut in the scalp.

This game of one-upmanship and conning goes on even in pharmaceuticals. One company sells the normal CROCIN and also CROCIN – PAIN RELIEF. This contains 650 mg of
paracetamol plus caffein whereas the normal one has just 500mg of the active ingredient. Gullible customers would be prepared to pay a premium on this branded product. Of course, the less we talk about the banned drugs the better. I have come across several gullible people popping in Nimulid tablets from Chemist shops without the knowledge that this is a banned drugs.

Even simple things like Milk is available in multiple brands and varieties, but if wants the good old fresh cow’s milk, it is just not available. Simple things like fresh milk or farm fresh vegetables which were available without any fuss at normal affordable prices during my school days in our village are today being sold at fancy prices to a select(rich)few.
If multi brand retailing were to come to India, things will only get worse.
Interestingly, all the 3 Cs (Complicate,Confuse and Con) are conveniently and cleverly camouflaged under a more respectable expression, which is the 4th ‘C’ – CHOICE.

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Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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