See-through marketing

Last week when I wrote about (figurative) transparency as a marketing tool, little did I know that I would soon discover a literal application of the same concept.

I bought a new vacuum this weekend; my old one finally gave out after almost two decades of service. Vacuums these days certainly have a different look than vacuums of yore. Gone are the bags so artfully tucked into an opaque canister, forgotten until the appearance of a warning light and the loss of suction. They have been replaced with clear canisters that can be easily removed and dumped after each use.

I didn’t think much about the reasons behind it until I got the unit home and started using it. One perfunctory round in my bedroom and adjoining bath left me completely disgusted. The canister was half full of dust and hair, and I was left feeling like a filthy pig. I dumped the canister and wanted to vacuum more, more, MORE! And those who know me recognize that I hate cleaning almost as much as I hate doing laundry.

Anyway, I think this was a brilliant move by vacuum manufacturers. What better way to get me to use their product than by showing me all the disgusting filth I have picked up from my floor? I want to push that yellow monster around until absolutely nothing is left to fly into its clear plastic belly. The more I use it, the more likely I am to talk about it, and the faster it will wear out and send me to the store after a new one. Don’t hide the dirt, show it off!

This is good stuff. One of the best marketing tools is a product feature itself. See? I told you transparency works.

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