Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brand Loyalty

TigerBlog was watching the "Bubble Boy" episode of "Seinfeld" yesterday when one of his favorite moments in the show's history - really in TV history - rapidly approached.

If you remember the episode, Jerry and Elaine are in the coffee shop when they're approached by Brian Doyle-Murray, who'd been sitting at the counter and noticed Jerry.

Doyle-Murray, whose character drives a Yoo-Hoo truck, explains that his son is stuck in a plastic bubble, because his immune system doesn't function properly, and that Jerry is his favorite comedian. He invites Jerry to stop by his house, which as it turns out is on the way to the cabin upstate that Jerry and Elaine are going to with George and Susan.

The scene in which Doyle-Murray explains the boy's condition moves him to tear up, and Elaine does the same. As she begins to cry, she hands the father a napkin to wipe his eyes, takes one for herself for the same reason and hands one to Jerry as well, seemingly because Jerry would be teary at the same time.

Instead, Jerry takes the napkin and uses it to wipe his mouth from his sandwich, showing that he is completely unmoved by the situation. It is subtle - but it is also hilarious.

For anyone old enough to remember the TV movie "The Boy In The Plastic Bubble," which starred John Travolta as a teenager forced to live in, well, a plastic bubble, again because of a lack of an immune system. It was something of a tearjerker, and Travolta's character inspires total sympathy.

On the "Seinfeld" episode, the Bubble Boy is sort of a jerk, and in the end, he and George get into a fight over a word spelled incorrectly on a Trivial Pursuit card. The result is that the bubble is punctured.

Another great line from the episode is when Doyle-Murray mentions that he's out there "six days a week hauling Yoo-Hoo."

TigerBlog has probably consumed a few truckloads worth of Yoo-Hoo in his life, beginning when his grandmother Judy introduced it to him when he was probably 4 or so.

In the case of Yoo-Hoo, TB's affection is to the product itself, not the brand name. Yoo-Hoo has no other product that compares, so TB sticks with it.

It's the same with Coke and Pepsi, TB assumes. They don't taste exactly the same, so the consumer is drawn to one or the other based on taste, rather than loyalty to the name.

Some products are pretty similar, and therefore loyalty to a brand name might come into play. Take toothpaste, for instance. Isn't it all basically the same? And yet, don't most people have a preferred toothpaste that they stick with?

It's amazing, though, how loyal people are to certain product brands, for whatever the reason. It doesn't seem to matter what it is - toilet paper, pants, gas stations, ice cream - people seem to find one thing and stick with it.

There are some brands that are thrust upon people and through that they become loyal to them because of that.

In TigerBlog's case, there is Nike.

Through the years, TB wore any number of sneaker and apparel brands, almost without noticing. Then Princeton Athletics entered into its Nike contract, and since then, TB has been nearly 100% loyal. In fact, he felt a bit guilty wearing his Under Armour "Malvern Lacrosse" t-shirt that David Metzbower sent him.

TigerBlog has said this before, but the Nike contract is one of the best things that's ever happened to Princeton's athletes.

He was reminded of this during the Parade of Champions Saturday night, when all of Princeton's athletes on the field wore uniform Nike apparel - and looked great because of it.

In the time before the contract, TB would see Princeton athletes in any number of different brand names, often wearing sweatshirts or t-shirts from other schools, something that always drove him nuts.

Today, thanks to the Nike contract, Princeton Athletics is a much more uniform place.

And TB never has to worry about what to wear to work.

It's like trying to figure out what chocolate drink to go with. There's no second thought necessary.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

1) "I'm sorry, it's the Moops"... George Costanza

2) "2 with kraut and a Yoo-Hoo"... TB

The classics never go out of style!