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Feel Change - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Feel Change
All of a sudden, most kinds of toothpaste here in the States come in plastic bottles as well as tubes. At first, I welcomed the change. There's little that's more consistently frustrating that a nearly-empty tube. But then I started to think about this development more carefully. Surely, the technology to make these bottles has been around since the 1960s. So why is it only now that the manufacturers are paying belated attention to all those comedy routines about how there's little more consistently frustrating than a nearly-empty tube? Perhaps there's a sinister backstory to their sudden willingness to make it possible for consumers to abandon an inefficient delivery system. One possibility is that this change is part of a broader assault on tactile experience. Even when tubes of toothpaste are pain in the ass, they give the user a sensation that the bottles can only gesture clumsily towards. The tube allows us to feel its contents without actually touching them. It's the condom of consumer packaging. Let's see a neat-and-tidy bottle provide that kind of indirect sex education.

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Current Location: 85704

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Comments
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: June 26th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's the condom of consumer packaging.


this caused me to let out quite a big laugh. high five! so true!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 26th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
And you can practice not hurting condoms by slipping them over a tube's surprisingly sharp metal edges.

Glad to hear things might not be 100% on the R front, BTW.
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: June 26th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
might not be 100% what...?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 26th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Whoops! I accidentally deleted part of the comment. It should have read "100% deferral."
xxxpunkxgrrlxxx From: xxxpunkxgrrlxxx Date: June 26th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
aha!
duccio From: duccio Date: June 27th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

sinister backstory

The motive is probably marketing 101: Now that the toothpaste is in bottles and tubes, it takes up twice as much shelf space in the store. So, for a short while one brand that came in both types of packaging had a two to one exposure advantage over competitors. Now they all have both the bottle and tube style packaging as a matter of ensuring survival. It is interestingly like an illustration of evolutionary adaptation.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 27th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: sinister backstory

Absolutely true. Products such as cereal and toothpaste are hard to re-invent. Products transition from an introductory period, through a growth period, then mature, and finally begin to decline. The 'new and improved', 'now with more...', 'now even bigger...', etc. is an attempt move the product back into the introduction and growth periods of the product life cycle. Changing the package is another way to accomplish this as well.

Or...
It is a sinister plot to mess with our minds in order to exploit our greed by making us think that their product is somehow better. They make us want it and we beg them to take our money so that we can have it. We are, after all, humans with insatiable appetites for 'stuff'.

In either case, the tactic did not work on me. I am still an old-fashioned-condom-tube toothpaste consumer.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: sinister backstory

I'm sure. As I told duccio above, though, why didn't they think of this sooner? It's not like this kind of marketing was invented recently. Strange.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2007 12:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: sinister backstory

You're right, no doubt. Still, it's odd that they didn't think of it sooner. Of course, the tubes take up more space laterally and are easier to spot by brand, so there may be a zero-sum tradeoff there.
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