Brands rule the world! Brands rule the world. But, why do brands rule the world? Through highly efficient advertising, consumers believe that a brand's product is better than the alternative. Tons of resources are spent by scrupulous marketers associating their brands with specific feelings: Ford cars are dependable, Tom's shoes are comfy, and Tom Ford is sexy (at least to me!). We all know by know that Nyquil is the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever so that you can rest medicine. Admittedly, some of this is earned by brands who provide quality products or services over a long period. However, sometimes a brand will squander that goodwill quickly through a single careless act (nothing worse than I recall ... Easy Bake Ovens, anyone?). I have never been one to wear labels of any sort. Rarely will you see me even wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, certainly not the life-sized (big pony) one that adorned polos for a short period. Yet, I do value quality and try to distinguish between brand marketing and reality. I buy acetaminophen; my wife buys Tylenol! The truth is that I know. I don't need people to know I know by displaying brand labels! In this week's Loupe, we explore brands and the brandless!
These days there are so many great places to shop for your daily necessities, food and such. You can go to the local grocery store, Costco, or even Amazon Fresh. All these places sell branded goods; it's what most people want. When you can't see the inside of a packaged good or feel the ripeness of fruit, many people want to know that Kraft has put their seal of approval on their Macroni & Cheese and Chiquita has blessed their bananas. However, these brands have paid for this awareness in part with marketing & advertising dollars; most often, they have paid for placement in stores and online. Ultimately, we are paying for this brand awareness. Brandless has dispensed with this waste (or they call BrandTax) by offering food and household products that are high quality and good value. Their products are entirely non-GMO, over half is certified organic, and contain no artificial preservatives or flavors. This is entirely different than providing generic or private label products (produced by Kraft but without the national label); these products are something different. They are pure. You will notice that everything is well priced at $3 ... I don't know why, but this feels so right! Sure Brandless is trademarked, but still, go Brandless!
I don't have a lot of clothes (just ask my frustrated wife) and what I do have are basics. No one (but me) would say I am fashion forward, nor would they say I am fashion backward (hopefully). My primary colors are blue, black, and white (sorry Red, Blue, and Yellow) and I don't have to think too much to put an outfit together. You will rarely find a visible label on my clothes or any identifying information for that matter. Amazingly, I found a brand that was made for me in M/F. Everything is simple and well-made. They are essentially Unisex clothing. They brought their collection to the basest of elements, almost utilitarian. Their shirts, shorts, and sweatpants are super comfy and casual (like PJ's), while still stylish. This is a unique, non-generic but generic offering of clothing!