Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where Are The Chicks On The Market Research Team?

I know I don't have a slew of male readers but for the few I do, I can pretty much guarantee you aren't going to want to read this post.  It's about poor marketing in the feminine product world.  Are you all gone yet?  If you are not, go ahead and take this opportunity to reread my post about my car or one of my technology posts.  Whatever you choose, I'm sure you aren't going to want to read on here - unless you are just dead curious.

So, ladies (and interested gentlemen) here we go.

I was in the feminine hygiene aisle of my local pharmacy, trying not to think too hard about what a terrible descriptor "feminine hygiene" is, and I noticed a new addition to the typical pink and blue packages we are used to seeing.   It was a black box with some wild colors and patterns peeking through the clear window of the box.  Intriguing.  Now, maybe it wasn't new.  It is entirely possible that I am just THAT unobservant but, in any event, it was new to me.

I picked up the box and pondered the merits of essentially the same product in a bright, shiny package.  This is one product where the packaging truly does NOT matter.   You can't polish a turd, right?  (Actually, according to Mythbusters, you can!) Who is going to be swayed by this blatant marketing ploy?  Well, apparently, I am.   Hey, I'm a designer and a visual person.  I like pretty things!

I got my new purchase home and waited with happy excitement for "my friend" to visit.  HA! HA! HA!  Seriously, I can't even fake that for a second! The only time any woman has ever welcomed that moment with a thrill is if she thought she might be unexpectedly expecting!

Sparing the gory details, I must admit that I was less that delighted with my new feminine hygiene purchase.  I'm only 2 days in (suddenly realizing what a delightful way to let the world know when I might be unexpectedly bitchy - mark your calendars, people!) and, despite the pretty swirly things that not only appear on the package but on the pad itself, the "performance" is a bit of an issue.  And it is all about performance!

The absorbency is fine.  The issue, thus far, is with adhesion.  This is one product that needs to have just the right amount of tensile strength.  It needs to stay in place and then release, easily, when it's time to let go. It's the latter part where this product literally falls apart.  The adhesive is so dang strong that the first time I went to remove it, I ripped it.  Super yuck!

Second time, I approached the matter more gingerly.   I had to fight to get the thing off!   There are so many ways that this can go wrong!  With adhesive that strong, imagine what might happen if you didn't properly secure all the wings before pulling up.  OUCH!  No need to go for that wax now!

It was at this time that I became astonished that nobody at Kotex had figured this out before going to market.   Aren't there girls on the market research team?   Didn't anyone say "Hey Sally.  Next time you get a visit from your Aunt Flo, give these a whirl and let us know what you think."?   It's crazy.  I envision a roomful of cigar smoking, cognac drinking suits saying "Who cares?!  A rag is a rag.   Just make the packaging in neon colors and they'll buy them because they are pretty.  Now.  Give me a gun so I can shoot something."

To be fair, I am a "Stayfree" girl, not a "Kotex" girl so, for all I know, the adhesive has always been like that on their product and has nothing to do with the "New U" packaging.  Also to be fair, I also bought the "New U" tampons and they worked out just fine.  No adhesive problems there, thank heaven!

I need to do a bit more research.  There are many factors.  Panty material for one.  Maybe some kind of incredible bond is formed when it touches micro-fiber or satin.   Maybe it's fine on cotton.  I'm not sure.  Maybe it is length of time.  Maybe it releases without issue after an hour but longer than and it has a death grip on your undies.   But, I keep coming back to my original question.  Where are the chicks on the market research team? Shouldn't they have figured all this out already!  You'd think, but apparently not.

I guess the moral of this story is that all that glitters is not gold.  Or if it ain't broke, don't fix it.   Or buyer beware.  Take away from this whatever you like but if you decide to try the "New U" be sure to handle with care.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How To Mod Your Oatmeal Poster To Make It Office Appropriate

I got my new favorite book "5 Very Good Reasons To Punch A Dolphin In The Mouth (and Other Useful Guides)" earlier this week and was wowed.  (Read "Top 10 Things I LOVE About The Oatmeal's Book").

I was also super-excited to tear out the poster of one of my favorite comics "Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable" and hang it up over my own torturous wide-format.  I read the comic again, laughed my a** off and realized that some of the language might offend some stupid, humorless individuals.

Here is how I modified my Oatmeal poster to make it office appropriate.  If you would like to do the same, you will need the following:

  1. One of those tiny useless sticky pads which can be stolen obtained from your office supply closet.
  2. A scissor.
  3. A writing implement.
  4. The ability to play Mad Libs.
The result:

Click for a larger version

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Things I LOVE About The Oatmeal's Book

10. Airline passenger bringing a fridge as carry-on
9. Slutty Oompa Loompa
8. Excessive use of the name "Chad"
7. Calling the Easter Bunny an a**hole
6. Raccoon trying to eat HTML
5. Whored up Velociraptor
4. Bear holding a sign saying "Please Pet Me. I'm Not A Bear."
3. Not one - but two references of chewing on people while they sleep.
2. Nikola Tesla
1. Fruity Blergs

This is by no means an accurate list. I could easily choose 100 things I love about this book and still not be sure they are my favorite things. Except Fruity Blergs. My favorite is ALWAYS Fruity Blergs.

Why Winter Makes Me (and probably you) Fat

T.S. Elliot said that "April is the Cruelest Month." And he was right for a lot of reasons that he doesn't even bother to mention in "The Waste Land".

April is dark and soggy.  It's also very confusing.  One day I think spring is coming and then there is a snow storm or something.  Then there is April Fool's day which may be fun for the prankers but not for the prankees (fortunately for me, I am usually the former!) And let's not forget "Tax Day".

But the main reason I feel that April is the cruelest month is that it is the month I realize the catastrophic damage the winter has done to my body.  I'm sailing through March without a care in the world when all of a sudden, the stores are carrying bathing suits and I suddenly realize how fat I have gotten!  I blame winter.

Here are the top 5 reasons why winter makes me (and probably you) fat:

  1. Human Nature.   Our stupid-ass natural instinct is to eat more and store fat to keep us warm in the winter months.  Obviously our instincts aren't up on the fact that we've evolved to have heated homes and constant access to food. I've got a fridge.  I don't need to store fat in my ass.  (Geek Alert!  Sometimes I wish our brain was able to get firmware updates for just such an occasion.)
  2. I bake.   I don't know about you but I bake a lot in the winter because it's cold enough that you don't mind turning the oven on or you are snowed in and have nothing else to do.   I wish I was a sh*tty baker so I wouldn't want to eat the final product.  Sadly, I rock at baking so everything I make is irresistible.  Pack on the pounds!
  3. I don't drink enough water.   It's too cold to drink water the same way I would in the warmer months.  Also, I don't want to go pee every 20 minutes because the toilet seat is freakin' freezing and I don't want to undress.
  4. Holidays.   Who's dumb idea was it to make the biggest eating holidays in the winter?   Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day (not a lot of eating but ooooh the chocolate).   Couldn't we spread them out a bit?   We've got nothing going on in June or August!
  5. Clothes.  It's easy to forget what I look like because it's painfully cold be undressed for any length of time (seriously, just ask my husband). Therefore, I go from bulky sweaters to fleecy jammies in 3 seconds flat.  I'd wear a snuggie in the shower if I could!  (oooh... million dollar idea there - water proof snuggie!)

So here I am in April, staring down the prospect of bathing suits and tank tops with loathing as I munch on carrot sticks and drink gallons of water a day.  It's a vicious cycle that I am not sure how to break. It's an annual event so, clearly, I shouldn't be shocked when it happens, but I am.  I'm like a deer in headlights the first time I walk in to Target and see a rack of bikinis (SOOOOOO not wearing a bikini anyway but that's besides the point).   

I think I need to remind myself that April is coming in February.  I could get daily notifications that say "Stop eating, stupid." and "Sweater is almost over." Hmmm, I wonder if there is an app for that?