Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Market research

File under: Sound And Fury. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 5:03 pm.

Taking the train in Canada? Your fare options, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Comfort Advantage
  • Comfort Liberty
  • Comfort Super
  • VIA 1

Humour me a minute, will you, and sort these in what you think to be the increasing order by price. And then take a peek at the website to check your (I assume) nigh-random guess, and tell me: Does above nomenclature constitute a clever means of branding? Or does it leave you longing for a simpler time (end of 2004, if I recall correctly - the last time I took a train), when you rode in coach or business class or first class and you understood what that meant, even though you weren’t hip to all of the new-fangled train lingo that all the cool kids on the block were using, because you weren’t one of the cool kids, which to this day brings back painful memories?

Thought so.

Anyhoo, despite the fact that I have been known to purchase, and wear, women’s clothing*, an absurd proportion of which which is designed with six foot tall, 120-lb prepubescents in mind - I continue to harbour some illusion that the market does not operate entirely independently of consumer demand or customer preference. And, not that I’m an expert on fads or anything, but I’m reasonably sure that “Comfort Advantage” and such aren’t about to penetrate the vernacular in the way that “Kleenex” and “Jell-o” have. So, VIA executives, if you’re reading this? Can we use our creativity in ways that don’t just confuse and annoy the people who pay your salaries?

While I’m at it, a memo to places that sell food products in a variety of sizes: kindly avail yourselves of the entire spectrum of sizes, preferably in their street names (small, medium, large). As far as naming goes, the highfalutin thesaurus-generated equivalents of [above] are unnecessary; in terms of descriptions of sizes, the fourth quartile is insufficient . Starbucks, which has made use of not one, but two Romance languages in labelling its sizes of drinks with synonyms for “big”, is probably the worst offender on both counts; but some chain that I think is local to Ontario recently offered me an option for my fries - would I like the large, the jumbo, or the super? (”The smallest you have,” I said, and the cashier called back, “One large, to go.”) Though if we’re going to continue designating portions fast food and drinks thusly, I propose we cut to the chase and offer them in Large, Extra-Large, Jumbo, and You, Sir, Have The Largest Penis This Side Of The Greenwich Meridian. And for the other extreme, let’s have Small, Tiny, Itty-Bitty, and Look How Well I’m Adhering To My Diet Even Though I’m Eating Out. Reckon you can make a nice profit off of that last one, too.

* I leave those of my readers who have linked me as “he” to apply Occam’s Razor as they see fit.