“Natural.” It’s the latest craze sweeping labels. Everything wants to say it’s natural. What does that really mean? Take peanut butter. To me, “natural” peanut butter has nothing added to it other than what you need to make peanut butter. That would be roasted peanuts, period. Or if you like salted, roasted peanuts and salt. That’s it.
I typically get my PB from Trader Joe’s. I had also tried Kroger brand natural PB, which was good. I decided to try Safeway’s home delivery service recently. I searched their site for natural peanut butter. I got a few national brands. I picked one at random. Skippy. It says natural. I assume it’ll be what I want, and good enough until I can hit Trader Joe’s. Looking at Skippy’s website now, they claim it has no preservatives, artificial flavours, or artificial colours. Sounds good to me. The order came, I read the label, and the four-letter words flew.
The ingredients are roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, and salt. Sugar?? And palm oil? That doesn’t even come from a peanut. Palm oil is high in saturated fat, and has been found to promote heart disease. How is that “natural peanut butter”? I also recently saw an exposé on the news. Palm oil is surrounded in controversy because of how it’s farmed and how the workers are treated. Holy cats! Natural? I’m insulted.
The Target Audience
One of two things has to be going on here.
- Possibility #1: Skippy doesn’t understand what natural peanut butter is. Well, maybe. I hope they will all go on field trips to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to find out!
- Possibility #2: Skippy feels that their target audience likes to see the word “natural” on the label, but then won’t read the rest of the label to see what’s really going on inside. I was only guilty of that because I was ordering online. In the stores, I read every label.
Assuming the reality here is #2, that says a lot about human behaviour. It says we want to feel like we’re doing the right thing by purchasing “natural” products, but we don’t take the extra step to check that we’re getting what we’re promised. That means that manufacturers can and will continue to slip things by people who are only paying a fraction of the attention they think they are.
I’m sure the parents buying this “natural” PB thinks they are giving their kids something better. The difference between Skippy Creamy PB and Skippy Natural Creamy PB? The regular version has hydrogenated vegetable oils while the “natural” substitutes palm oil. You’re still giving yourself or your kids plenty of sugar and unhealthy oils.
I challenge manufacturers to be more honest in their labeling. I challenge consumers to be smarter and more thorough. Just because you can get something by someone doesn’t mean you should.
Toilet paper. Most of us use it. We don’t think too much about it. Some of us are brand loyal, some buy whatever’s on sale. I like Target’s own brand, if you must know.
Charmin has been running ads with cartoon bears. Typically, the parent bears are looking at baby bear’s butt to see if he has “pieces” of toilet paper stuck to his butt after wiping. Out of everything I could say about toilet paper, I’ve never had a problem where chunks of it stick to my butt. Maybe I’m special and lucky.
I noticed their ads had some very weird wording… wording related to “enjoy going more.” Again, maybe I’m special, but I don’t associate “enjoyment” with going to the bathroom. In fact, Charmin is using www.EnjoyTheGo.com to dump you on a landing page inside their site.
Most other toilet paper ads focus on their product’s softness or strength. Softness, I get. When I was little, my parents bought Scott brand even though they would constantly joke that it was like “wiping with the New York Times.” Strength… sure, I don’t want toilet paper dissolving in my hand while using it. But when they wet it and dump a bunch of quarters on it? Holy cats, what are people doing with this stuff?
I’m just not getting the marketing angle of “enjoying going to the bathroom more.” Evidently, we are all not enjoying this enough, and need to enjoy it MORE. Charmin is claiming they can lead you down that happy path.
Right now, I check 4 email boxes. Three are for business, one is personal, all are at domains that I own and control. I have heaps of forwarding addresses that dump in those 4 boxes. My Android phone runs K9 (email app), and polls every minute I’m awake (literally) for all four boxes. I’m on the grid.
I have zero accounts that are Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or Gmail. I am unlikely to use a Facebook email account. I am unlikely to seriously use email at any domain I don’t control. Hosting is more sophisticated now. Sure, it’s exciting that Gmail lets you store so much, but my hosting company gives me endless storage. I’m the only one who sees the email. Google doesn’t try to give me relevant ads when I read my email. Facebook won’t have data on who I write to the most, or what I have to say.
I’m not the “fear of Big Brother” type. I know people who avoid Gmail or Google Calendar out of fear of the records Google will have on you, and who they’ll share that with. To those people, I say disconnect your mobile phone. Shut down your home internet. And never do anything that requires you to give your Social Security number. Yeah right! Let’s face it. We’re all “traceable” to some extent. I’ll keep my nose clean, and try to play my privacy as intelligently as I can.
With Facebook coming out with a new messaging system, will you use it? Want another email account?
Facebook will tell you when I like a page or added a person as a friend. But you never see the announcement that I “unliked” a business page, or that I removed a friend. Why not?
Maybe the unfriending should be stealth, but I like the idea of telling you when I unliked link or “fan” page. If Facebook thinks I’m interested in when my friends show interest in something, wouldn’t I also be interested in when they no longer have interest in something? People run in groups and herds, and like to know what’s hot and what’s cold. If a friend of mine finds that a product or service stinks, and disconnects, I’d love to know that.
I remove myself from “fan” pages rather deliberately, and if I am influential in my circle, then I’d want my friends to know. Facebook should announce it all.
The dating website, OKCupid, decided to grab over a half a million profiles from its database, and start crunching numbers. It looked at a variety of things, and broke it down by gender, race, religion, and other “self-stated” profile elements.
There are some pretty wild things in there, like the grade level of people’s writing divided by their race. Eeek. They even create their own stereotypes. Eeek squared.
But if you like tag cloud and lots of charts, you might find this interesting.
When you are asking someone to do something on a website or inside an application, sometimes, their natural reaction in their head is to say, “Give me a good reason.” Give me a good reason to:
- Tell you my age or reveal my complete date of birth.
- Disclose my income.
- Give you my fax number or mobile phone number.
- Tell you how many children I have.
- Upload a photo of myself.
- Give you my credit card.
Can you? If you don’t have a great reason to collect that data, consider not asking the question. Do you really plan to fax me something? Do you need my payment info right now if this is a free trial? A free trial should feel free and without obligation, but you want to take and store my sensitive payment information for later?
People are more likely to fill out and submit a form that is shorter. Less time, less work. More trust. I would trust a company more for knowing what to ask and what NOT to ask.
As I write this, I am using OKCupid as a dating site. I’ve been on it a week. I still don’t totally get it since it IS quite different from other sites. But I’m doing OK.
I just got an email from them that is absolutely amazing. That’s my profile picture. It addressed me by username, which I edited out for this blog.
Wow. I have seen studies that look at how people tend to connect based on attractiveness. The studies tended to show that people of similar attractiveness ratings tended to end up together. A woman who is a 9 will date those 8, 9, 10 guys because she CAN… she’s a 9, she can land a 9, she doesn’t have to date a 4 unless she is really into him for whatever reason. A woman who is a 4 will date 3s and 4s. She’s a 4 herself, so a guy who most people would rate as a 9 is unlikely to go for her. 3 and 4 are her “league,” the studies showed. It’s who likes her and who she can get.
But part of the interesting thing about this email is that I got an email. I got an email basically telling me yeah, we’ve been showing you some of our uglier customers since we weren’t sure what was in your league. But strangers say you good-looking, so we’re going to start showing you more attractive people! Don’t leave! They’re on their way!
And if you don’t believe us, go ask an ugly friend. Marketing!
Update: I posted this email to my Facebook because I couldn’t believe it. I have a handful of friends who have been on OKCupid for months or weeks. None of them got this email (yet).