Photo via: Ben Chau
With every traumatic event in life, there is always a team of clever marketers waiting to capitalize on peoples fear. It is the very basis of smart marketing. It is one thing to tell people to use their moisturizer or they will get old, but it is an entire different scenario when they say, use our hand sanitizer or you will die!Okay, perhaps that last statement is a little extreme, but as I write this, millions of products, such as soaps, hand sanitizers, and room disinfectants, have already been snatched off the shelves. This is creating what could be called a boom for the biocide industry, rivaled only by the popularity of the Slinky and the Pet Rock back from the 70's and 80's.
Companies such as Henkel (a.k.a. Dial Soap), Johnson and Johnson (a.k.a. Purell Hand Sanitizer), and Lysol have began ramping up their marketing since news of the Swine Flu hit. These clever marketing schemes have attempted to disguise themselves as public announcements of disease prevention, but what they really offer is a cure, which always features their own product as the saving grace our nation has been waiting for.
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The dangers of the Swine Flu are very real, make no mistake about that, but nothing that couldn't be prevented by a conscious mix of good old-fashioned intelligent precautionary measures and hand washing after being in public areas. But tell this to the hundreds of entrepreneurs who have already jumped on the bandwagon of preventative products.
So far we have a rather clever mix of flu-related prevention methods being sold over the Internet. Just a quick search on Google will find you Swine Flu Protection Kits, going anywhere from $10, on up to $40 on the popular Amazon Website. These kits feature sanitizing wipes, face masks, and rubber gloves. The New York Ad Agency, Digo, has also joined the crowd with a line of whimsical designer face masks, each with its own creative design, catchy slogan ('"It's Not me, It's You"), and $100 price tag (goes to charity they tell us).
So where does all this fit in with Treehugger. Well, it is just another case where good intention and fear has led to the promotion of wasteful packaging, wasted energy, and a slew of unnecessary products. "It was bound to happen," says Treehugger's own John Laumer. "When the threat level is lowered to 2, after a few days, people will have it sitting under their sink for years—At least the expiry date is measured in millenia, so it can become a family heirloom."
Source: The Wall Street Journal
More on the swine flu
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Swine Flu: What You Need to Know
Stop Kissing To Stop The Swine Flu
Wide Angle: Swine Flu Outbreak
At Least 20 Dead, Hundreds Ill in Swine Flu Outbreak in Mexico
Are Factory Farms to Blame for Swine Flu?