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Confusion state of toothpaste

I ran out of toothpaste, so I have went to super market to buy a new one. Standing in front of the oral care aisle and I am confused. I don’t know which toothpaste should I buy. There are over thirty different kinds of toothpaste. I usually use Colgate, but even I ignore all other brands, there are still ten different kinds of Colgate toothpaste for me to choose. The product packaging is not very helpful. Other than I can tell the color and the taste of the toothpaste, I have no idea what those marketing jargon means or do they even have any meaning.

I try to read the fine prints on the toothpaste box and compare the difference in each of them. It turns out all toothpaste print the same boilerplate instruction on the box, it does not give me any useful information on the product itself. I can’t make up my mind when I don’t have any information to justify my decision. In the end, I resort to just looking at the price and buy the one that is on sale. If an average consumer like me can’t tell the difference among the products, what is the point for the toothpaste company making ten different kinds of toothpaste?

9 comments to Confusion state of toothpaste

  • you see, you are not a typical consumer. the article below is on food, but some of the same theories are also behind this whole idea of having 30 diff kinds of toothpastes on shelf that does essentially the same thing……

    http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_09_06_a_ketchup.html

  • shelton

    true , i am used to choosing the model promoted on the ads.

  • Michael Cheung

    If you ask your dentist, the answer is probably “it doesn’t matter”. There are of course some special ones for sensitive gums etc, but if you everything selling for the same price are basically the same thing. Colgate sells ten different toothpastes that are essentially the same. You’ll probably think it’s a waste of money. It doesn’t take a brain to figure out GM and Chrysler are doomed to fail when they sell the same car under different brands.

  • tzigane: Does anyone really care the taste of the toothpaste? Isn’t all are minty taste?

    shelton: ha, you are just like me.

    michael: No wonder P&G’s stock drop like a stone.

  • it’s all about giving consumer choice, or the illusion of choice. the diff packaging are designed to appeal to diff consumer segments. it also makes it easier to play with prices.

  • thank god! someone is experiencing the same confusion that I have!!
    Why the hack they have thousands of option out there on that rack?? Seriously?? what’s for??

  • gwen: they have thousand options to confuse you and me!

    tzigane: choice is only meaning if you can tell the difference between different choice. Maybe most consumers are just too passive.

  • tzigane makes senses. Ha ha, I actually was going to find a Gladwell thing for you to check out. tzigane sent you a link to the article, Gladwell also gave a speech at TED.

    The point is consumer choice. And more importantly, different consumers’ willingness to pay different prices for the appearance of different quality and functions.

    Horace, you are like me, will only pay for what is on sale. The reason why there are so many choices is that enough customers are willing to pay extra for many of the other toothpaste.

  • just like kid’s tylenol — some has strawberry flavor… some has grape flavor… some has bubblegum flavor…

    they are all the same =)

    having choices available is one of the key marketing strategies to include everyone’s tastebuds — although we don’t essentially gulp it down afterwards!

    (especially some adults are just like little kids who don’t like to brush teeth – having more flavors available may entice them?)

    – wife

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