Here at Consumerist, we’ve been slightly obsessed for most of the last decade with the Coke Freestyle machine, a contraption that lets customers add a startling variety of flavors to their soft drinks. (Pepsi has a competing super-fountain, the Spire.) What we didn’t know is that Coca-Cola has been using the devices to collect data on what beverages we want, and then giving them to us. [More]
People lie. What we want isn’t always what we say we want. This poses a problem for marketers, who depend on market research before launching new or redesigned products. Researchers have learned that people in focus groups tend to tell the authority figures running the test what they think the tester wants to hear. They say that they’re interested in products without considering whether they would actually buy them. They say that something draws their eye when it really doesn’t. Fortunately, technology has caught up with our lies. Market researchers can now track subjects’ retinas to see what products really draw their eye, analyze barely perceptible involuntary facial expressions, and even monitor brain waves to see which choices elicit happy thoughts.
For April Fools’ Day 2009, ThinkGeek launched a tauntaun sleeping bag as a fake-yet-awesome product. As everyone knows, pranks make the best market research, and now LA Weekly reports that they are going ahead with the product. Yes!
Of all companies, ThinkGeek should know that you never taunt a sci-fi nerd with something movie related unless it really exists. Yesterday the company revealed its annual page of fake products to trick customers, including squeezable bacon spread and a “Unicorn Chaser” soft drink. The best product of all, however, was this Tauntaun sleeping bag (check out the tiny lightsaber on the zipper pull!), which sparked so much demand that the company is looking into selling it for real.
Second Curve Capital is a hedge fund, managing hogsheads of cash in long-term investments on the stocks of banks and financial services. Most of the year is spent over ponderous goblets of brandies, smoking fine cigars at financiers’ gentlemen’s clubs, absorbing the exuberance and doldrums of bank CEOs and presidents.