Snuggies: the 8th Wonder of the Modern World?

2009/11/28 at 20:42 Leave a comment

We’re all feeling the recession.  We’ve heard recently in the U.S. that it was over and the markets were stable, employers were just not hiring yet.  Then, it seemed things might not be so rosy.  This week brought rumors and reports that Dubai, Dubai, might be going bankrupt*.  In this increasingly intertwined global economy, every little up or down (or report of one) can have incredible ripple effects.

Imagine my surprise, then as I’ve recently returned to the States after an over-seas, TV-less assignment to see a new and expanded Snuggie infomercial.  At first I thought “ha, ha!  Snuggies in leopard print, just when I thought things could not get tackier!”  And then I started thinking about it: Snuggies are releasing a “designer line” of their product.  Unless it’s a marketing ruse to make the product’s profitability greater than it actually is, this meant something truly scary and of a significance I have yet to figure out: Snuggies are making money.  Making money, and enough to expand their product line.

For those of you that don’t know what a Snuggie is, yet are still here, I’ll try to explain.  In the States, and most English speaking nations, we have infomercials for products that seem to be completely superfluous, useless and usually are so ridiculous in their uselessness to the average consumer that they are laughable.  This particular product has been the latest in a long series of “As Seen On TV” products that have been lampooned and scoffed at in their inanity.

Essentially, It’s a blanket with arm holes, made of fleece.  The original advertisement points out how cumbersome and just plain inconvenient blankets and sweaters can be: you have to move your hands from under a blanket to, say knit, or answer the phone.  The actors seem have their spirits broken by this unfathomable act of uncovering their arms to perform menial tasks.  They can’t believe humanity has made it this far with such a burden.  But then!  Blessings!  Someone has invented a product that looks like a blanket with sleeves.  You can use your arms now!  You can lift the remote control from the couch without having to negotiate that insidious blanket.  A huge weight has been lifted and a milestone in the evolution of man has been reached.

As my 22 year old sister pointed out: it’s a robe you put on backwards.  That you pay a lot of shipping and handling for.

Everyone from news shows to parody programs (like The Soup and Saturday Night Live) and late night talk show hosts (Jay Leno, David Letterman) have all taken potshots at the Snuggie.  It’s just too absurd to believe, but too real not to mention.

Well, look who’s having the last laugh.  They know have leopard print.  And zebra print.  And camel (of course).  And THERE’S EVEN ONE FOR YOUR DOG.**

How can there be a recession, with reports of empty stores on New York’s always busy upper Broadway on Black Friday, and the run away success of a completely useless and superfluous product?  According to their website, they’ve sold over 4 million units in three months.  That means more than one percent of the US population has bought one in the last quarter.  Now, a lot of this is through TV marketing trickery (buying sets, up-selling, confusing ordering practices), but still.

Clearly half of this me joking, but it raises a real point: what in the french are consumers thinking?  We hear about belt tightening and foreclosures and bankruptcy, but the completely unnecessary products of the world go on, and do well.

It’s not marketing.  The ads are too targeted, too cheesy, too insignificant to have the impact they claim to have.  So I ask: what do you think drives consumers to these purchases when they are tightening budgets elsewhere?  It’s not escapist and it’s not essential.

Thoughts?

* Dubai is also a cautionary tale of excess, proof of the adage of location, location, location and bubble budget spending (use it or lose it), but it’s a very serious development.

** I’m not making this up.  Please see the second video below- there’s one that combines both, but then you wouldn’t really be getting the full Snuggie experience.

Designer Snuggie Infomercial here (brings you to youtube)

And for your little dog, too infomercial (youtube)

Advertisements

Entry filed under: advertising- tv, consumer goods, contradictions, direct marketing, entertainment, linkedin, marketing, recession, TV, youtube.

Hotels.com: when simple and direct meets generic, the consequences are vast Be careful watch you wish for: what happens when your marketing campaign is *too* successful?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Contributors

tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

posterity


%d bloggers like this: