Marketing to Babies

Chobani Packaging Image Non-Greek “Greek yogurt” peddler Chobani is, according to Advertising Age, gearing up to push their hyper-packaged melted ice cream-ish goop onto babies and toddlers.

The cause is the usual one — the system, a.k.a. corporate capitalist normalcy.

The beginning point is the refusal to countenance price-cutting:

Greek has enjoyed a price premium over regular yogurt, but that has started to erode as competition increases. Mr. McGuinness [Chobani's chief marketing and brand officer] pledged that Chobani would not go below a dollar per cup, saying Chobani is an “aspirational” brand.

Quite so. Despite the absolute centrality of “natural prices” in Adam Smith’s classic (though not uncritical) attempt to justify capitalism, actual capitalists, as Smith knew but failed to think through, despise price competition:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

If you know your history, you know that, as soon as they were big and strong enough, major investors convinced legislatures to allow them to grow their firms to sizes and scopes that made co-respective pricing (a.k.a. inflation) the new norm. Why would Chobani give up that privilege at this late, market-totalitarian date?

From there, it’s a matter of solving and re-solving the usual business problem, competition via mushrooming, metastasizing marketing efforts within stagnant, mature markets:

The launch [of Chobani Tots] comes as the once-skyrocketing Greek yogurt category begins to show signs of maturity. Slowing growth rates have sparked a market share battle among Chobani, Yoplait, Dannon and other brands. As a result, market leader Chobani can no longer rely on overall category growth to fuel sales and must fight harder to win customers.

“It’s harder in the Greek yogurt category to lead than it used to be,” Mr. McGuinness said during his presentation. Still, the marketer sees opportunity because Greek yogurt’s U.S. household penetration is still just 37%.

The human effects include the usual expansion of marketing efforts to condition humans who cannot yet talk or think:

Chobani wants babies to go Greek. The yogurt maker, which helped pioneer Greek yogurt in the U.S., will target tykes with a new product called Chobani Tots. It’s slated to hit stores in January.

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The Face of Metastasis

Shane Snow Meet Shane Snow, the founder of Contently, which pimps writers out to corporate capitalists like American Express, Coke, GE, Google, Walmart, and General Motors. The service sold is “content marketing,” meaning fake journalism designed to sell more corporate products and otherwise advance the aims of big business marketing campaigns.

Ad Age reports that such efforts are a major boom industry. The various overclass flagships “are expected to spend nearly $2 billion on sponsored content in 2014.”

Mr. Snow does his pimping by “licensing software to brands to help them manage content-marketing projects and connecting these companies with freelance writers, for which it takes a 15% fee.”

As actual journalism dies via strangulation and systemic neglect, here’s how the action looks at Contently:

There is a range of writers and prices from which brands can choose. There are, for instance, best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize nominees, youngsters fresh out of journalism school and a number of others who work for major publications but freelance on the side. Contently’s stable includes about 50,000 writers, according to Mr. Snow.

“It’s like a supermarket for writers,” said Tomas Kellner, managing editor at GE Reports, GE’s content-marketing site. “People like me, who need to scale up their operations, can get access to writers for a specific project.”

Market totalitarianism.

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A Worthy Read

richtel-book-imageTCTers may recall the actual journalism of Matt Richtel. Turns out, he has now shaped his work on the politics of distracted driving into a pretty fascinating book, A Deadly Wandering.

It reveals not only the forces promoting the form of mass murder known as “the connected car,” but reviews some pretty important research into the interface between technology and brain science. Both these topics speak volumes about the ruinous direction of human culture under corporate capitalism.

To that point, Richtel quotes David Strayer, the ex-GTE engineer turned safety crusader. While still employed by GTE (now Verizon), Strayer discovered proof that cell phone usage by automobile drivers was wildly and obviously dangerous. The reply of his bosses was, Strayer recalls, this:

Why would we want to know this? That will not help us sell anything.

marx This is not only Fred Taylor-level system voicing, but also a pretty direct confirmation of Karl Marx’s analysis of Mr. Moneybags’ core worldview and ethical status:


Après moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence, Capital is heedless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.

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PBS Retaliates

blackmail-note The threat of losing sponsors is one of the major factors that make the corporate capitalist media system so effective at its core task of molding behavior on behalf of the overclass.

PBS, in its continuing journey toward complete irrelevance, is apparently now deploying this weapon against its own critics, despite the timidity of the latter.

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Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Corporation

captain_renault The mega-marketing platform known as the National Football League is taking some heat for its employment (Captain Renault is shocked!) of violent people.

The NFL’s hypocrisy, meanwhile, is a mere grain of sand compared to that of its sponsors. To wit:

“The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

Thank you, sugar-water pusher!

“We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.”

That’s Budweiser talking.

“As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable.”

Yes, make-up is all about empowerment and equality.

“McDonald’s is a family brand.”

The only howler bigger than these shameless lies about corporate values is the suggestion that any of these capitalist behemoths might ever refrain from availing themselves of the NFL’s services as an eyeballs-and-eardrums rancher.

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TCT Goes Clothes Shopping!

shite As you can see/may have seen, TCT is out trying on new suits. Better? Worse?

While we’re fall cleaning (metaphor mixing all the while), my other idea is to test out Twitter as a way of pestering some of the worst big business marketers about the shite they put out. Anybody wanna try that with me? I despise Twitter, but some ad-jamming (only a half nod to the posers at AdBusters) might at least allow us to do a fun little experiment.

And speaking of excrement, I have been dealing with increasing amounts of attempted spam comments. Hence, I am implementing the WordPress control that allows you to post freely only after I’ve approved a prior comment. It would be nice if regular readers would post some reply to this post, so I can get you over that hurdle.

Other ideas?

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