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Marketing vs. Quality
buzzed, B&W
About a week ago, I was at Bert and Ernie's, enjoying a beer, the patio, and some good company. I happen to be with some of the owners of Another Mile, the local specialty running store. Being my inquisitive self, I was asking them some questions about the store, and I ended up asking about track spikes, and how they did. One of them responded that they really don't sell that many pairs of track shoes, as the kids tend to want Nikes, and the store doesn't carry Nikes as their running shoes are sub-par compared to some of the specialty brands (i.e. New Balance, Saucony, Asics, etc). In other words, they want the "cool" shoes, rather than what may be the best shoe for them.

Makes me wonder how often good branding wins out over quality. Nike has done an excellent job of branding - the swoosh is recognized around the world, and everyone knows which brand has the slogan "Just Do It."

Living in Helena, this automatically made me think of politics, and reminded me of the movie the Distinguished Gentleman, where Eddie Murphy plays a con man who wins an election because he shares his name with the deceased congressman.

The question them becomes, how many politicians win on name recognition alone? When I vote, I tend to go check some websites, check people's platforms, and vote if their platforms align with mine (which tends to heavily emphasis civil liberties). This year in Montana, it's hard not to know about Conrad Burns, and his involvement with Abramoff, but I wonder if Rehburg will defeat Lindeen just because her name isn't out there, and people don't know anything about her.

The ancillary question would then be how much should candidates be allowed to spend? The libertarian in me thinks everyone should be allowed to spend as much as they want, but in reality that ends up with people buying elections, and our society turning into more and more of an oligarchy.

Amazing how this parallels the shoes though - sometimes the superior product/store will lose because people want the brand they recognize . . . even if that brand uses sweatshop labor and turns out an inferior product . . .