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Weekend Assignment: Brand Disloyalty

June 15, 2010

So, the latest Weekend Assignment asks about our favorite products:

We all have a certain product in our lives we simply couldn’t live without. Tell us about your favorite product. How long have you used it? Why is it the best? If it were no longer on the market, what would you use instead? Give us all the details!

Extra Credit: Time to get creative. Take a photo of your favorite product!

So… Dear Wife and I aren’t the “brand loyalty” type.  I was probably nominally more brand-loyal than Dear Wife before she came along, but since she makes the majority of our shopping decisions, I’ve lost most of that.  So, instead of buying Skippy peanut butter (which I grew up with) we typically get JIF or maybe even the store-brand instead.  Instead of Cheerios or Rice Krispies we get “Toasted Oats” and “Crispy Rice” (store brands, of course).  Instead of an iPod, I have a Sansa Fuze (which, frankly, I love; it’s as stylish looking as an iPod, and I don’t have to use iTunes or feel like a cultist – Dear Wife got it for me as a birthday present, and it’s great).

That being the case… (other than my momentary gurgling over the Fuze above) it’s pretty hard for me to pick out a brand of product I use exclusively above all others.  I own a Dell laptop, for instance, but it’s got problems.  Dell’s model has basically been copy-pasted by all the other manufacturers at this point, so when that laptop dies, I’ll gladly play the market to find the best deal for the maximum under-the-hood beefiness (tempered by reviews from reliable sources).  If Windows weren’t so ubiquitous, I’d drop in another OS just to give it a whirl.  I regularly switch between browsers, just because I can.  For food, we typically go middle-of-the-road.  We look for good bargains for good-quality stuff.  We don’t need sterling, top-level luxuries, and we want a good deal.  For other  household goods, it’s the same.

Basically, I just don’t want to get caught up in the horse-race other people often get caught in, where we start attaching emotional value to stuff that’s just stuff.

That said: I do have my weaknesses.  But my weakness isn’t so much for a product, per se, as a… hmm… how do I put this… I’m a fantasy geek.  That means I love my fantasy novels.  (I own all of the “Wheel of Time” books to date, I have a matching set of “The Lord of the Rings”, another set of “The Chronicles of Prydain”, an all-in-one-volume “Chronicles of Narnia”, and so on… There are gaping holes in my collection that, in time, I will be pressed to fill.)  I love my fantasy movies.  (Dear Wife recently bought me the special edition of “The Two Towers” movie, which has been on my Amazon wishlist for years.)  I love my fantasy games and video games.  I love my fantasy-related paraphernalia.  And, yeah… I’ve invested a lot of emotional self-identification in this stuff.

What’s so great about fantasy?  It’s hard to pin down.  I love it because I can travel to new worlds.  I love it because magic is real – there is a sense of wonder and awe.  I love it because I can be a hero, someone who makes a difference, someone who conquers evil and saves the world.  I love it because I can see things that no eyes on this earth can see, or see things that I can never see on my own.  I love the pastoral and wilderness settings common in many fantasies.  Most of this can be said of science fiction, as well, but here’s where fantasy frequently trumps sci-fi: more than anything else, fantasy is a reflection of who we are viewed through the prism of the myths and beliefs we have about ourselves and our world.  Sci-fi is forward-looking, and that’s great.  But fantasy is inward-looking.

I mean, I’m not an elitist, or anything.  I’m a huge fan of sci-fi as well, and of many other speculative fiction genres.  If fantasy weren’t around to feed my unquenchable hunger, I suppose those other genres would do to keep me at least minimally nourished, if not moreso.  But my first and greatest love has always been and always will be fantasy.  You sprinkle a little bit of fantasy on something, and I’m all over it like a rabid squirrel on Mr. Peanut.

I guess that’s at least part of why I write this stuff.

Now… how do I take a picture of fantasy?

Oh… here’s my best shot:

An Image of Fantasy

Is this what Fantasy Looks like? Maybe a little less blurry?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2010 1:34 pm

    Hmm there are some things I am very brand loyal about: most fall under the umbrella of personal care products. I’ve gone through the alternatives, and some give me rashes, or are uncomfortable, or messy. Sometimes finding a perfect fit is so very difficult too. I wouldn’t want to do without them, just because I’d have to start looking for just the right product over again.

    And books. There are some authors of whom I buy every single book. I think that qualifies as brand loyalty.

    • June 15, 2010 1:42 pm

      I would agree about the authors and books. That’s definitely brand loyalty, because for a writer, your name is your brand!

      I think it’s normal for most people to have some brand of product that they feel very strongly about. I mostly have the opposite reaction. There are some brands that I feel very strongly about not using. But mostly, I’m really just indifferent to the brand I’d use. Some few things I’d prefer name-brand over store-brand for, but I’m okay with using store brand when Dear Wife brings those home from the store instead (or, for that matter, when it’s my turn to shop, I often go for the store brand simply because I know that’s what Dear Wife would do, and I don’t want to disappoint her. I’m very brand-loyal to Dear Wife!)

  2. June 16, 2010 11:00 pm

    The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings (etc.). Works for me! 🙂

  3. sberges permalink
    June 21, 2010 1:48 am

    I was with you as far as the store’s own brand product – I frankly don’t care, and my husband even less. But then you said you had a Santa Fuze mp3 player instead of an iPod. What?! Ok, so I’m a brand snob after all… Did you see the animated version of Lord of the Rings? I loved that, and wish they’d done the rest of it.

    • June 21, 2010 8:53 am

      Yeah, I’m well-aware that my preference for a non-Apple product, in this regard, is pretty well against-the-grain. Apple has done a fabulous job of branding their products. (There are case studies in my B-school about their branding capabilities.) But some of their coralling-tactics just come across to me as heavy-handed… and that activates the rebel in me. So the fact that I think my Fuze looks good, works well, and doesn’t require iTunes all make it a great package for a rebel like me!

      And yeah I’ve seen the old animated version of the Lord of the Rings – the Ralph Bakshi, rotoscoped one that ends at Helm’s Deep. I’ve never seen the Rankin & Bass follow-up of Return of the King (though I have seen the Rankin & Bass version of Hobbit). I’m a huge fan of animation… so yeah, I love both the Bakshi LotR and the Rankin & Bass Hobbit!

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