What Makes People Buy a Product?

by Richard Wanderer, November 3, 2013

As a boy I remember listening to the radio and reading the Sunday comics. To this day, I remember some of the radio commercials, i.e., Lifebuoy soap was promoting its great aroma.Then there was that jingle about Fitch Shampoo – words to the effect of “use your head, save your hair, use Fitch Shampoo”. There aren’t too many bottles of Fitch Shampoo around these days so I wonder if it really worked for everyone. The comics had memorable commercials, too. Like – the Hall of Fame Yankee 2nd baseman, Joe “Flash” Gordon, because of his speed, promoted Schwinn bikes. Then there was a man dresssed up in a white tuxedo with a high hat called Peter Pain. He was constantly battling with a remedy to relieve aches and pain called Ben Gay. As I grew older, I remember a beer commercial on TV in NYC for a local beer called Piels. It had cute looking cartoon characters named after the brewery owners. Though Piels is still around today, in somewhat limited distribution, at that time,too many people thought the commercials were great but the beer didn’t live up to the consumers’ expectations. I guess then – when you think about it – for the typical product to succeed – its value has to hold up to the hype about it.

Today, on television, we often see, in the evenings, one car commercial after the other. They tout – safety, price, prestige of ownership, happy family values, high performance, lengthy warranties, low down payments and even lower monthly payments, etc. Problem is there are so many makes and brands advertising non-stop, one car commercial often seems to merge with
another. Probably for cars, a high priced item, the potential consumer must have a pre-determnation that it is time for them to buy because their current car is getting too expensie to maintain. The problem for the car manufacturer is that they often have to get “last licks” at the consumer in order to steer them into their show rooms.

When it comes to books, this is really a somewhat different situation. Here we have to catch the mood of the potential consumer. Does the consumer wish to laugh or escape for adventure or be reminded of the difficulties confronting the world? Is it comedy they seek, to escape the tensions they may face every day, or do they wish to escape into another world via exciting adventure? Or perhaps they may be interested in reading about every day serious problems that affect working men and women? I am sure there are a multitude of other reasons a person is drawn to a novel. Nevertheless, it does depend on the mood and curiosity of the reader.

Having written my novel, THE HOLIDAY PARTY (A Tale of a Corporate Takeover), about the takeover of a family owned national magazine bought out by a huge media conglomerate and the chaos they caused to the employees of the magazine, I look for readers who can empathize with this type of situation. People who helped their employer build a successful business – have spent their careers making it successful – and then suddenly find how drastically their lives have changed.  Perhaps, too, show these readers there may be ways to overcome this type of hardship in their lives.

When you pass an empty office building in your town, do you ever wonder what happened here? What kind of business were these people in? Did the employees find other careers and jobs when their workplace ended for them? Were they able to support and feed their famlies? If these thoughts ever crossed your mind, then perhaps one novel you might be interested in reading is mine.

2 Responses to What Makes People Buy a Product?

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