Mostly Everything

Predictably Irrational: Perceived value with “bottomless” “unlimited” and “cheap”

Predictably Irrationa

I’m halfway through Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and I must say that this is my new marketing bible for observing the seemingly irrational behavior of consumers when certain buzz word concepts like “free,” “value added,” “extra” and “unlimited” are brought into the marketing copy. It’s a beautiful book — and if you’re the type who enjoyed other books like Freakonomics, The Long Tail and Tipping Point, this is another must have to your collection.

One of the chapters in Ariely’s book talks about a concept known as “anchoring.” The premise is that consumers never make choices based on a product’s price alone, but rather based on the relative price of something else. When you buy a mobile phone for instance, you always compare the affordability based on a previous phone you owned, or with the relative price of similar units. More importantly though, the book talks about how consumers’ anchor price can change. We used to pay P5.00 for a sachet of Blend 45. Now we pay P100.00 for a cup of Starbucks. Ariely explains how “perceived value” raises the anchoring price of things we buy. Starbucks’ ambiance makes you feel like you’re drinking quality coffee and marketing changed “small,” “medium,” and large to “tall,” “venti” and “grande.” It’s like stepping into a different country where the relative price of everything is different.

Sadly, anchoring of prices can work negatively as well for consumers when marketers weave in the concept of “free” “bottomless” or “unlimited” which is a very powerful word in this industry. When we see “bottomless iced tea” in the menu, we go for it, and restaurateurs know we will – that’s why they price it high even if we only finish two or three glasses – still way beyond break even price. The “Unlimited” calls and texts of SUN for instance charge P25.00 per day, which is P750.00 per month. The average prepaid usage for calls is 214 minutes per month based on consumer research and at a buck per minute for “unlimited rates,” that’s really P214.00 per month for calls. On a daily average, calls should cost P7.14 per day, not P25.00 (more less 350% higher?). There’s something that’s also not factored in – dropped call rate, which according to the NTC – SUN has the most alarming drop call rate at almost 20%.

There’s a third example – when you walk into a department store and see three LCD TV’s – a Samsung, SHARP, and a SONY in the showcase all at different prices, you tend to take a look at the weakest link (Samsung usually keeps the lowest priced ones) in comparison to the other two “higher end” and “higher priced” units. The fact is, the salesman built this arrangement on purpose so you can compare the cheaper unit side by side the other much higher priced units. Instinct tells you you’re getting a great deal on the most affordable unit, and so you buy it! The truth? That’s what the salesman wanted to push in the first place to meet his quota. He could have very well lined up the most expensive TV from the set (the SONY) alongside other cheaper or more expensive promos.

That’s why perceived value is always relative to something else. Comments?

Coke Light vs. Coke Zero: A Taste Feedback?


Coke Zero was launched last week with a really huge event at the Fort. My cousin who was one of the agency guys in charge of the event tells me that it is a way for Coke to compete with Pepsi Max, and to get a larger demographic of male “no sugar” Coke drinkers. Statistics as well say that the impression of Coke Light is more of a “ladies choice” than a men’s thing. I think this was partly realized after the free Coke Light campaign done in malls such as the Greenbelt 3 in many legs last year.

So really, do you notice a taste difference between the two? I’ve been buying BOTH for the past week and as a consumer, I really can’t care less on which one I get. Here are the top five no sugar soft drinks I buy regularly in order from most preferred to least preferred:

Coke Light / Coke Zero
Sarsi Light
A&W Rootbeer Light
Pepsi Light
Pepsi Max

They say that between Coke Light and Coke Zero, the taste difference kicks in when both drinks are consumed at room temperature. Allegedly, you won’t notice the taste difference when both drinks are iced. Of course, doing this is rather gross so I’d rather not experiment on a matter with no great consequence to my current state of affairs 🙂

What you think?

Mostly Everything

In vitae memoriam

The family has been quite busy with our grandma’s funeral preparations. One thing that my cousins realized is that it was a little difficult finding a lot of stock photos of her. We’d have to segregate everything from the seven children’s families, scan them and then push them all to iPhoto for a themed slideshow.

I was having a conversation with my cousin who’s a film director and we came to agree that if it were our generation, finding photos would be so much easier as our lives are pretty much public in Facebook, Multiply and Friendster. Not to mention our blogs as well. What would it be like, 50 years from now when it came to storing our memories online?

One of the resolutions among the cousins would be to start a centralized photo repository. Maybe on Flickr or Multiply because it is very easy to batch upload. And then maybe link them all to a blog or something. The objective would be to come up with an organized way for anyone in the family to have access to these gems and contribute.

Any suggestions? 🙂

Mostly Everything

The Mystery of the Undeletable Draft Mail on Leopard

Oh darn

Have any of you encountered this problem? I’ve had a ghost draft mail sitting on my mailbox for several days and it just wouldn’t want to go away. Here are two ways to solve the issue:

The first is to simply highlight the email and click on the REBUILD option. The mail will disappear. If this still does not happen, you can check out this post of onkeljonas from Ars Technica that shows you how to do it:

Poking around ~/Library/Mail/ showed that while Mail still showed the 1 unread message, it didn’t actually exist – it turns out that Mail needs a file to delete to be able to properly update the messagecounts and lists, and for some reason a mail file had disappeared by itself.
Here is a fix:

1) Navigate to ~/Library/Mail/
2) Open BackupTOC.plist, and figure out which of the entries under Root/messages is the borked one
3) Look at the kMDItemPath and make a note of the last part (xxx.emlx)
4) Open Mail, make a new draft, quit Mail
5) Navigate to ~/Library/Mail/[account]/Drafts.mbox/Messages/, make a copy of the draft you just created (don’t just rename it, or you’ll have to redo the process). Make sure the copy is in the correct mbox (in my case that was Drafts, so I didn’t have to move it) and name the copy using the note from step 3.
6) Open Mail, delete the offending email, profit!

The real problem here is how a mailfile went missing in the first place, but I’ll attribute it to some rare Mail bug involving empty messages.

Ho-hum. These are Leopard blues. I must admit, in terms of stability Leopard isn’t what Tiger used to be.

Mostly Everything

Scoble gets face off’ed on Facebook: another justification for OpenSocial?

So the year in tech has begun with Robert Scoble getting canned from Facebook for violating part of the company’s terms of service. We have interesting coverage from the Canadians Tris Hussey and Mark Evans – Tris hints a boycott of Facebook (well not really):

Why does this matter in Canada? Why am I writing about this here instead of on my personal blog you wonder? Simply this, Canada has probably the highest percentage of Facebook users of any country. Toronto has a million (that’s a third of the population people) and half of Canadians online are on Facebook. So if there is any country where this should be a hot button issue-it’s here!