Pavlov’s Kisses

Big business marketers, being in the anti-rationality trade, see their targets not only as “targets,” but as animals-in-training.

Consider, then, this contraption, the Hershey Smile Sampler:

Hershey machine

This thing is installed in grocery store aisles, and dispenses a candy when somebody smiles into its facial-recognition camera. Part of a trend called “shoppertainment,” such devices boost brand loyalty to their owners’ wares. How much marketing data gets derived from the facial images of the creatures who salivate on cue remains to be disclosed.

Ad Age reports on the logic of the Dr. Pavlovs behind the Smile Sampler:

The kiosk took up precious retail space, but retailers loved it because it drove foot traffic and loyalty, and for a brand like Hershey, giving up space was worth it if it meant means getting people down the aisle and driving just one potential sale, said Mr. Jimenez. “If I can get more impressions at retail that’s extremely valuable for us, expecially in a category that [benefits from] unplanned purchases. This experience allows us to do that. Retailers even offered to give us more space because of the idea.”

Wild Blue Technologies, which worked with Hershey on the push, validated the effort by asking people to tell them if they’d come back and use the “smile” machine and technology again. “We’re talking about validating qualitative [behavior] and using tech for that,” said Steve McLean, president of Wild Blue Technologies. “They were giving us realtime feedback. They said, yes I’d make those 20 paces for this treat.”

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Where’s the Working Class, Bernie?

sweet_talkBernie Sanders’ disruption of Killary’s marketing effort is a pleasing thing. But, damn, the guy has such huge flaws. Not least of these is his failure to talk straight about the realities of social class.

Here’s what he says today to a NYT reporter:

“Ordinary people are profoundly disgusted with the state of the economy and the fact that the middle class is being destroyed.”

What is “being destroyed” for somebody in the middle class? Being sent back to the working class, right? And as that happens, what has been happening to that always-latter class?

One might expect a socialist who cannot (and should not want to) win the U.S. Presidency, who is there to change the terms of discussion and embolden the neglected masses, to point out that, as the credential holders slide, the working class is as much the majority as ever, and has been getting absolutely — and intentionally — raped since Day One of the ongoing Reagan Restoration.

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This American Life, Indeed

Ira Glass photo The latest recipient of the Hicks Dictum Award is that hugely over-rated antiquarian, Ira Glass, who has this to say about how he views his own output:

“I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great. Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

One might ask what makes Mr. Glass think PBS and NPR have ever been anything but subservient to capitalism, but that is a side issue. The main point is that everything Glass says is a turd falling into your drink.

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