Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Always Get the Original Flavor

This is simple, people. The original recipe is the one that built the brand. It's the one that people bought by the millions. It's Colgate toothpaste. It's Dial soap. It's Coca Cola. The reason Colgate is a household name is not because of Colgate Advanced Plaque and Whitening Formula, it's because of the original tube that had Colgate written on it. That was the advanced formula. This is what people don't understand. The original was the genuis product that made the name. The advanced plaque fighting version didn't exist until 80 years later, when a business school type was hired to figure out how Colgate could guard it's market share. Which product do you want: the toothpaste that built the empire or the one imagined up by the executive who preached the merits of diversification? How is this even a hard choice?

And you see this all over the marketplace. As soon as a product gets popular it spawns 12 variants, all inferior. And because the new variants are always presented as special, advanced, or improved, no one buys the plain old unadorned original anymore. But the original is where the quality is. You can bank on it every time. Shampoo? Look for the bottle that says "for normal hair". That's the original. Orange juice? Find the carton with no vitamins or calcium added. Sam Adams? Boston Lager. Pizza? Original crust. Don't take the experimental newfangled crust that was supposed to usher in a whole new pizza paradigm. That's a marketing exec getting paid and laughing at you. This is the person who got paid to say that a slice of pizza could be improved. Why should you pay the price for his assininity?

Consider the Oreo cookie. A masterpiece of design. A sculptured, aesthetic tour de force. Two irresistable flavors in perfect balance. This is the cookie that built Nabisco. Remember Barbarians at the Gate? Doesn't happen without the Oreo cookie. According to Wikipedia it's been the best selling cookie in the United States since its introduction in 1912.

And you know what you are if you buy your child the original Oreo instead of the double stuf? A heartless sonofabitch apparently. How dare you get the single stuf version for your family and deprive them of all that precious extra cream? Not to mention you didn't get any of the holiday colors versions, you cheap, thoughtless tightpurse.

That's what Oreo has done to it's own flagship cookie. By creating all these new versions and touting them as improvements, they've deliberately sabotaged the original and made it seem plain so that the fudge-dipped variety and others can look better by comparison. And it's worked. If you buy the original, which again to remind you was the dominant, most popular US cookie of the 20th century, then you presumably have no imagination, ambition or taste, and your child will look at you like you are deliberately trying to disappoint him.

Always remember: the original built the empire. The new version was the 1980's brainchild of the hired suit. Which do you want in your pantry?