Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Don't Mind Change. Really, I Don't.

My first foray into the world of full-time gainful employment was at a college marketing company. There, I learned all about brand loyalties -- how and when they are formed, and what you can do to encourage them one way or another. The president of my company would repeatedly paint the picture of a college student as fertile ground for marketing because s/he is pseudo-independently making decisions about which toothpaste, detergent, deodorant, etc., s/he should buy for the first time. I say "pseudo-independently" because he also painted a picture of the modern college campus as incubator, with student life administrators doing anything and everything to keep the kids within the hallowed halls and picturesque gates of the school.

Having worked at a college, I can attest to this. I mean, is it really the best practice to encourage staff to stay 'til 2:00 a.m. on the first night of study days to dish out free bacon and eggs, also known as "Midnight Breakfast," in an effort to keep the kids from toddling down to the strip of bars and pubs serving discounted beer? What beefy lacrosse player is going to say, "Ya know, screw the $1 long necks. I need some scrambled eggs." The kids who were already going to be on campus, studying or lounging in dorm rooms, are the ones who will take advantage of the free food.

But I digress from my backstory. Most of our brand loyalties are formed in childhood. Most of us just stick with whatever our parents bought. I'm kind of susceptible to marketing, though, because my parents always bought either generic brand goods or goods that were on sale. So typically, I don't care which dish soap or laundry detergent I'm using. I only committed to Tide and Downey after I got married because that's what my husband (adamantly) prefers. Well, and I use Dreft because parent I know uses it to clean their little 'uns' clothes, and I've become convinced that the Boy's epidermis will slough off instantaneously if traces of any other kind of detergent touches his delicate skin.

I could bore you with brand marketing strategies to overturn the "I buy this because I've always bought it" mentality before progressing to the next part of my tale. But I got bored with it about a paragraph in, realized I'm not writing a text book, and deleted the many words I'd devoted to it.

Here's the meat of the story: I smell different. Why? Because the very day that I ran out of my trusty unscented Dove deodorant, I received a sample of the new Degree Ultra Clear for women. "Praise be," I thought. "I don't have to buy deodorant for another two weeks."

So now, I keep inhaling this fruity, shower-fresh smell and realizing that it's me. Which is weird. Am I a fruity, shower-fresh kind of gal? These are not bad things to be, but if I can smell me, that means that other people probably can, and I have to figure out if this is a good thing. Ultimately, though, I think I'll jump on board the Dove wagon again. Why? Because everytime I catch a whiff of my Degree sample, I think about my underarms. And it's just distracting to think about your armpits all day long.

Ha! You read that whole thing! You can't unread it. Now you'll be thinking about my armpits too. Behold the power of blogging!

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