Friday, March 15, 2013

How the Toy Companies Get You

Robert Cialdini
Lately, I've been reading the book Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini.  The book give s the reader a nice glimpse into the many social and psychological reasoning behind persuading and making an impact on people.  I'll do a full book review later in the future, but I wanted to share with you one example that I thought was quite interesting.

In the book, Cialdini talks about a strategy toy companies use to squeeze out a few extra dollars from us in their slow months of January and February.  Their strategy involves displaying adds on your child's favorite TV shows for this years hit toy sometime in November and December.  Think Furby or Cabbage Patch Kids.  After listening to these commercials for a month, your child begs you to buy one this Christmas.  Not wanting to seem like a bad parent, you agree and promise to purchase one.

The shopping season rolls around, and parents across the land are shocked to discover that this year's hit toy is severely under-stocked in all the toy stores.  Uh-oh, what's a parent to do?  Well, you certainly cannot give your child nothing to open for Christmas, so you buy some other toys and pay about the same amount you would have for the hit toy.

A month rolls by and it is now late January.  You see that that the hit toy is now available in your local toy store, and you now have the chance to fulfill your promise to your child.  You purchase the toy, and have a wonderfully thrilled child.  Congratulations, the toy companies managed to get twice the spending out of you.

So what's a parent to do.  The first solution is to never promise your child a toy.  Another strategy is to become better at buying the year's hit toy the first time around.  In the end, the only thing that is hurting in this scenario is your budget.  Meanwhile your child is extremely happy...what's wrong with that?

Wonderful Moment of the Day: Beautifully sunny days in Winter.

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