Will Conspicuous Consumption Add to iPhone 6 Sales?

As an oligopoly, through pricing power and product differentiation, Apple takes advantage of the conspicuous consumption customers could experience.

A Cranberry Blog

Yesterday morning, during my “rantum scoot” around a Nantucket cranberry bog, our group leader unknowingly presented a supply and demand story. This is the bog: Starting with some history, he said the island of Nantucket was ideally suited to growing cranberries because it…

Airline Product Differentiation: It's About More than Just Plane Comfort

Whether departing on Imperial Airways from Great Britain or Pan Am in the US, for most of the 20th century you had no need for business class. Only the wealthy could afford to fly. In 1934, anyone with £180 ($17,000 today) could travel on…

Is “MexiCoke” Making a Mistake?

In Nevada convenience store coolers, at Wal-Mart or Costco, people empty the shelves the minute the Mexican Coca-Cola arrives. Coke says the glass bottle is the reason. Coca-Cola drinkers say they prefer “MexiCoke” because it is made with sugar cane,…

Oligopoly: Two Great Ads

During August, 2010, this picture of VW’s headquarters appeared in Google Street View. Fiat actually was following a Google car and then parked, at the right moment, in front of VW for the shot. In Santa Monica, CA, Audi and…

Oligopolies: Selling Hair Color

Miss Clairol was launched in 1956. For the first time, in just one step, women could change their hair color quickly and easily at home. But the new product needed a message that Foote, Cone & Belding’s copywriter, Shirley Polykoff,…

Innovation: The Cup Holder

Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” I suspect that automakers were thinking like Steve Jobs when they gave us the cup holder. The story of the cup holder begins in 1950: A tough…

Oligopoly: Competing For Stomach Share

For an oligopoly that sells food, competition is all about “stomach share.” Our story starts with Yoplait… More than a decade ago, General Mills made sure that yogurt would become a popular “health food.” No, it was not because so…

Competition: How Do Cups Affect Our Taste?

I don’t quite understand why Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks use white cups. Sensory researchers have concluded that the color of the cup affects our taste perception. When 57 participants were asked to rate hot chocolate on several sensory scales, their…

What Spaghetti Sauce Teaches Us

Henry Ford once said that: “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’ ” Similarly, asked about spaghetti sauce during the 1980s, consumers primarily knew about Ragu’s plain, marinara and meat sauces. Because…