Eva Bradley: I can see right through marketers

By Eva Bradley

This week I have had a thrilling new experience. Quite without warning and without any forward planning whatsoever, I found myself in possession of two litres of the controversial new "light-proof" milk from Anchor.

This happened because in an equally surprising move, my boyfriend stopped on his way home from work to get bread and milk.

Unmoved by fancy marketing techniques to differentiate what is essentially an identical product, I was never going to fall prey to Anchor's wily packaging charms.

No matter what fats you take out, what vitamins you add in or what container it sits in, milk is milk is milk. All cows were created equal, right?

But since the milk was there in my fridge, the door was open and the light was on, I did pause briefly (perhaps not quite long enough to have spoiled the contents of a regular milk container) to consider the product that had been causing so much fuss.

Despite the fact it is allegedly harder to recycle and consumers are apparently in milky froths of rage because they can no longer see how much milk is left in the bottle, what irritated me most about Light Proof was its attempt to manipulate my feelings towards what was a perfectly good product.

Until Light Proof came along, I thought plastic see-through milk bottles were the bees' knees.

Now I'm not so sure. And that annoys me. Probably enough to boycott Light Proof on principle.

The fancy new bottle has waltzed into our lives a bit like a flashy younger woman who swoops in and flirts with your wizened husband of 30 years, suddenly prompting comparisons, making him see flaws with a product he had been perfectly happy with since the very first "I do".

Marketing executives are shameless when it comes to pimping up a new product at the expense of another.

They cluck proudly in prime-time advertisements about the fabulous affordability of the new this or the latest that, and when they've lured you to the showroom, you are bombarded with irresistible add-ons and upgrades that make the affordable advertised base model look woefully inferior.

We are all suckers for getting the latest iPhone because it is slightly longer and thinner, or the new model car because it has a few more curves to set it apart from the old one.

Now the marketing fat cats have us lapping up light-proof milk because they've invented a first-world fear that never existed before.

Milk getting spoiled by light is just one more thing to worry about along with breaking a nail and missing an episode of My Kitchen Rules.

Life. Is. So. Hard.

Anchor claims sales are up since Light Proof hit the shelves.

But I'm not convinced this will last. Most of us are so sick of the samey little shuffle through the supermarket aisles that we'll give a new product a crack just to create a little frisson of excitement in an otherwise mindless 30-minute chore.

But while we may be bored, most of us are not stupid.

Even if we can't see through the bottle, we can see through the marketing hype and conclude that milk is milk and the easiest way to keep it in the dark is just to shut the door.

- Northern Advocate

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