7/30/2005

Happily Married Woman Strikes Gold by Marketing to Adulterers The U in SPUD - Universal - is key to remaining relevant. Sometimes, that means tapping into a universal trend, even if it doesn't personally apply to you. That's what happened recently when Cathy Gallagher of Bethesda, MD launched a new line of greetings cards for adulterers. The 40 year old woman, who has been married 15 years, says she doesn't want to promote infidelity or glorify it in any way, but she does recognize a universal trend that could mean gold. If statistics are to be believed, she's right. Recent studies claim that 60 percent of married men and 40 percent of married women have had, or are having, an affair. Perhaps Mrs. Gallagher assumed that people who are putting their efforts into cheating just don't have the creative juices left to write their own mushy greeting cards. So, she is stepping up (or down, depending on how you look at it) to the plate. One example: "I will miss spending the holiday with my special lover... the one I really want to be sharing it with." Puh-leeze. Sorry, Mrs. Gallagher, but it sounds to me like being happily married doesn't ensure the ability to wax poetic. I find it ironic that this new card line is taking off. When did it become a good idea to actually document your indiscretions? What's next? A line of cards for reformed criminals? ("I'm sorry I stole all your jewelry and pawned it. I know now that everything that glitters is not gold.") Not surprisingly, some greeting card store owners are refusing to carry the new line of cards, worried they'll offend loyal customers. Other store owners see an opportunity, believing they can attract new customers with the card line. Both are right. (And I'll go out on a limb and predict the next related trend: bulk sales of these cards for rascals like Jude Law and Mick Jagger.) Despite the questionable taste of this new product line, it deserves our attention because it teaches valuable lessons: 1) Understand what makes something universal. Universality occurs when the desire or need for a product or service appeals to a wide range of people. That range can be segmented by age, geography, gender, taste, or any other specific demographic. It becomes relevant when the segment is willing to pay for it. 2) Trends can often be universal, but universality isn't always trendy. People have been having affairs for years, and probably will continue to do so for many more years. Infidelity can hardly be considered a trend. Still, Mrs. Gallagher has chosen to capitalize on the universality of cheating, saying "It isn't my place to judge." 3) Know your customers. Sometimes, you may have the opportunity to capitalize on a trend, but will the long term results be worth the short term gain? 4) Universality that is controversial grows its own legs. These new greeting cards are receiving excellent publicity, which will keep them relevant for a while (at least until something even more controversial comes along). Relevance doesn't come free. We always pay for it in some way. Know the price before you place the order.

2 Comments:

At August 09, 2005 7:57 PM, Blogger Bill Lampton, Ph.D. said...

Taken to the most absurd extremes I can imagine, will there be cards we send to terrorists, commending them on their bombing skills? Or cards to athletes caught with drugs, offering our sympathy and saying we know they were singled out because they are famous? Or cards to priests who abuse children, pledging our understanding because we assume the priests had unfortunate experiences in their own childhood? Ridiculous, tasteless, patently offensive. True, we have freedom of the press, yet any company that produces cards of this ilk should draw public ire, not customers.

 
At April 18, 2007 1:49 AM, Blogger Kreshna Iceheart said...

"Recent studies claim that 60 percent of married men and 40 percent of married women have had, or are having, an affair."

So only 40 percent of married women cheat. But then again, why take the risk?

 

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