Novelty items shouldn't trick consumers
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 16:10
Recently I was passing time on Pinterest, as I do, and I came across something that just blew my mind.
There was a picture of an iPhone 4 case captioned “Best phone case EVER!”
Built into the back of this case was a maze. You remember the ones; the dollar store game you used to get in those party favors in elementary school, where you had to maneuver the little metal ball into the hole in the corner.
While I agree that there is indeed something great about this, it is not the phone case.
It is the fact that someone out there has discovered how to market the pure novelty of an item to such an extreme extent.
Surely that is not an easy feat in such a technologically advanced world, right?
You would think, but this is not a new marketing trick, and it is actually quite effective.
Product vendors of all sorts benefit from appealing to the consumer’s sense of novelty.
By making that novelty into an accessory for a $300 piece of technology, this company can sell you your childhood memories for $50 a pop.
And if we think we can be sufficiently entertained by that same game concept now that it is attached to the back of our phones, why do we even need such a costly phone that does so much?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone.
I doubt I could live without it at this point. But I love it because it does nearly everything for me.
I can communicate in at least four different ways, not including social networking apps.
I have instantaneous access to all of my music and any music I could possibly want.
I have a fairly decent camera, Internet access, an entire library of books and newspapers, and a whole host of other things literally at my fingertips, including a virtual version of the same crappy maze game (which, I might add, is free).
How many of us actually played with that game more than once before tossing it in a drawer and forgetting about it?
My phone even takes away the buyer’s remorse I would get for spending the money on the case. And by downloading the virtual game for free, I feel much better when throw it out.
The idea of the phone case it intriguing, not because we thought the game was so great, but because we are now looking at the game in a new light.
But it still doesn’t merit paying the cost of the phone case in exchange for what little entertainment we actually get out of it.
I suppose this is the grown up version of begging for the biggest, best toy in the store, only to turn the box into a rocket ship.
We spend the money to feel like a kid again, for however long that lasts.
So can we really put a cost on memory lane, or are we just wasting our money?