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11:09am on Sunday, 26th March, 2006:

Word Association


Ever bold in its hard-hitting attempts to bring down hubris wherever it occurs (except for this sentence), QBlog today breaks modern taboos and digs the dirt on toilet paper. Er, again.

OK, so you're a manufacturer of toilet paper and you want to encourage people to buy more of your product. You plunder your focus groups for ideas, and needless to say find that what they really want is the usual "It's not going to scratch you and your finger isn't going to go through itTM". Being polite, however, that's not how they phrase it. What they say is that they want toilet paper that is "gentle".

Hmm, so how do you make toilet paper that's gentle? Even after two years of extensive research and development, you'd have a hard time persuading trading standards officers that it really was gentle — or even that it was gentler than before.

Idea! You don't make the paper gentle, you just change the colour slightly and say that's gentle! People will see the word "gentle" on the packaging and, because they're stupid, will associate the phrase with the paper inside. Brilliant!

Yes, I know, I'm being fanciful. Surely no self-respecting toilet paper manufacturer would stoop to use this kind of tactic?

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).