Saturday, December 25, 2010

Badvertising: Trojan Triphoria


I saw this crazy little ad yesterday, during the day, in the middle of a Star Wars Marathon on Spike. So I'm sure no kids were watching. Not that I care if kids see stuff like this, since they either don't know what it is or if they do know should be taught that the female orgasm is a wonderful thing which should be encouraged and pursued with gusto. So you'll get no morality lesson from me.

But still, just... wow. What a crazy ad, and what a time to have it on. I thought it was funny, but it seems more like an ad aimed at guys, similar to any number of low comedy beer commercials, with the aim to get them to purchase said product for the lady in their lives. It doesn't seem like the type of ad which would actually make women buy things.

The product name is interesting too: Triphoria. I assume its a combination of "Three" (for the 3 options) and "Euphoria". But it also sounds like one of those name brand medicines they sell using ambiguous commercial with lots of old people biking in the woods, like Propecia or Cialis. Or alternatively, it sounds like some kind of virus you don't want to get. The Triphoria Virus: it kills you three ways!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Thought Experiment

A quick Holiday Economics thought experiment: is famous for their free Super Saver Shipping, which is bulk ground shipping that they promise will take 5-9 business days.  Often times products will arrive sooner, but this is not guaranteed.  All during December Amazon had a countdown of how many days were left that customers could still enjoy Super Saver shipping and have their purchases arrive in time for Christmas.  As expected the last day was 9 days before Christmas.

And then suddenly I get an email: Super Saver has been extended.  Suddenly you can take advantage all the way till the 19th, a mere 6 days till Christmas, and a Sunday no less, which will certainly cut down shipping speed.


How can they guarantee 5 day shipping on shipping which is supposed to take 5-9 days, especially during the busiest shipping season of the entire year?

My hypothesis: Amazon has decided to pay the increased cost of faster shipping, still calling it Super Saver but actually eating more of the cost per unit shipped.  This will cut into their profit margin, but its worthwhile in this limited situation. Amazon knows that most people have a certain amount they will spend for their Christmas purchases, and they need to take this step in order to offset their biggest drawback as a shopping service: the need to order things far in advance.

So Amazon accepts a lower margin per purchase, but does so in order to capture purchases which they otherwise would have been shut out of.

There is a side note here: Amazon could have told customers that they were planning to extend the Super Saver deadline beforehand, but they choose to wait until the clock had "run out" before announcing the extension.  The reason for this is easy: psychologically pressure as many sales as possible before the false deadline, and then cash in on any "bonus sales" they got during the extended deadline.  It also likely saved them some money, because they will not have to pay the extra shipping charges on orders which they theoretically would have gotten anyway but would have been delayed due to later ordering.

Sometimes the world really does work in a way described in Econ books.  Maybe its a Christmas miracle?