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Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Brand Killer Weedkiller

A bit of a reluctant admission here. If anyone should know about brands to trust it should be somebody who posts under a blog like this one, right?

About a month ago, I was shopping at the local home improvement mega-store. One of the items on my list was weedkiller. We have a nice brick patio off the kitchen. The gas grill is out there. The picnic table and Chloe's playhouse are out there, too. Over the course of the spring, the weeds had made their annual appearance--sprouting up between the bricks and along the sides of the patio. It was time to eradicate some weeds. A busy guy like me only wants to do this task once. Once and done!

In the past, I have used RoundUp brand weed killer. It has always done the job for me. It has always worked fast with only one spraying.

As I entered the store, I was presented with a bulk display of weedkiller. There it was, right beside the shopping carts, impossible to ignore. The store had two brands on display. One was RoundUp - about a half-gallon spray jug for $10. Right beside it was a competing brand ... a no-name competitor. This brand offered 30% more product for a buck less at $9. More product at a lesser price. Hmmm ... almost half the cost of the RoundUp.

So what did "Mr. Brand Loyalty" do? Yep. You guessed it. I picked the off brand.

As you might imagine, el cheapo didn't work very well. I had to spray the weeds twice. Plus, the spray mechanism was cheap and flimsy; I wasted 5-10 minutes just getting the pump primed so it would spray. I regretted buying the no-name prouduct and wished I had gone with the leading brand, RoundUp, as I had in the past.

This weekend, while watching a golf tournament on TV, I saw an ad for RoundUp brand weed killer. Their message: "RoundUp really works. It kills weeds fast, with only one application." As I recall, the notion was that RoundUp costs a bit more but is worth the price. Worth it, indeed! I'll never make that mistake again. Kudos to the marketing geniuses at RoundUp for articulating their USP and conveying their brand essence.

Anyone ever had a similar experience with a household product in which you gambled on an off-brand product?

4 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

Skip,
Do you want the entire list or just the abbreviated version? In an interest of time, I'll provide the abbreviated version....

With a "frugal" husband and a bargain shopper myself, I am always trying to save as much money as possible. Although, many times, I have learned the lesson that more expensive products are many times worth the price. There are a few things that I ALWAYS purchase the name brand over the store/generic brand. Kraft Cheese Slices...I have tried and tried to eat the store brand, but it just isn't the same. I can only buy Tide because everything else breaks me out. :( Windex, OxyClean, and there are a few others that I purchase only the name brand. The most amusing of all of these is the time that I thought I would save a dollar and purchase store brand pantyhose. There is a reason why the name brand can charge a dollar more...It's because it is worth the dollar to keep your hose up where they belong. Needless to say, I have worn "cheap" hose once. After a day of tugging and pulling...that was it! Now, I don't complain that a pair of hose is $5. It's worth it!!!

I have found that many store brands work better...Walmart's store brand dishwasher liquid is better than the name brand. Many of Walmart's medical items like antibacterial ointment (Neosporin) are also equal/better than the name brand.

So, I guess my philosophy is if I use a brand that works well, I try not to stray from that.

One thing about trying "store brands" is that many of them have a guarantee that if you do not like their product as well as the name brand, they will give you a refund. Sometimes, having that "piece of mind", is worth trying the store brand.

Once again, you aren't alone. We've all wanted to smack ourselves for trying something other than our usual purchase.

9:01 AM

 
Blogger Bru said...

Well, as a Mac user, I've always considered Microsoft to be an off brand and I can't begin to tell you the nightmares I've experienced using that system.

1:10 PM

 
Blogger Mau said...

Skip,

I am myself victim of El Chipo "adventures"... not a good feeling.

On the other hand, if the El Chipos of the world kept on pushing very overtly the "Money Back Guaranteed" offer, it would be difficult for me to refuse at least to try them out.

Mau (smartideas.blogspot.com)

6:08 AM

 
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