Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Smooth as butter

I used my meal plan as a grocery list this week, slipping products in my cart in a hurry.

When I sat down to breakfast, I realized that the "light butter" I bought per my meal plan was the very same Land O Lakes Light Butter that has been advertised on my Yahoo email page for weeks.

Effective product placement, or subconscious advertising?

As a frugal consumer, how much can you tune out the marketing around you? Do you use promotions to your advantage, or do you fall victim to the hype?


Anonymous said...

Are you saying that the butter (or reasonable facsimile thereof) was a good purchase or a bad one? I'm a little confused.

Anonymous said...

Advertisements do not 'get me' to buy a product, what gets me is a good coupon. If I have a good coupon I will try most things (within reason) I never went for the swiffer mop etc.
I always shop with a list. ALWAYS, and that helps me a lot. Also, I watch little TV. Very little. I do not read the ads on the newsletters etc. that I get. I just guess I pick and choose what gets me attention. RM

Anonymous said...

The "advertisement" that REALLY gets me is the sign that says "REDUCED for quick sale"!!
Today I bought eight half-gallons of organic milk for 99 cents each! Seven of them are now in my freezer.
Mrs. L.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about that light butter? I bought some the other day and really like it. But then I had an "oh yes" moment when I realized it cost $3.49 for 8 ounces when regular butter is about $2.50 for 16 ounces.

So... I saved the container and took a regular stick of butter, melted it, mixed it with canola oil, poured it back in the container and popped it back in the fridge.

It was fine today, but I'm really curious to know what the appropriate ratio of butter to canola oil would be. Any thoughts from you all who always seem to be in the know?

Anonymous said...

I love the photos you post--your blog is always beautiful!

I've learned to avoid almost all commercial temptations by never buying "fake stuff." If it has a marketing campaign attached to it, I pretty much ignore it.

I just buy plain old butter, milk, eggs, meat, and produce. Nothing wild, crazy, over-processed, or chemical-laden. Never ever anything low-fat, no-fat, sugar-free or otherwise tampered with (I have to confess extreme prejudice in this area- artificial anything tends to taste nasty to me).

The Lord made such delicious sweet and savory foods for us, and they're in every garden and grocery store. When you come to the 'improved' stuff, just try "do not pass by, do not swerve to the right or the left, but keep your eyes forward," and you're likely to be successful.

Janice Campbell

Anonymous said...

to halfpinthouse, I remember my mother "making butter" that way. She would whip 1 pound of softened butter with one cup of canola oil in her heavy duty mixer, then pour the mixture into a couple of small stone crocks she had. Those crocks looked so much better than a stick or a tub on the table, too. The butter was fabulous, and spread so easily, unlike stick butter.
I really should mix some up...

Debra said...

I try to stay on track and not buy what's not on the list or needed. But I have my weak moments when it's hard to pass up a 'deal'.


Meredith said...

Oh, the butter spread tastes fine.

It's just that I was surprised that the very "light butter" I chose--from a wall full of buttery products--was the very same butter that had been flashing on my email screen for weeks.

Since I spent little/no time deliberating on brand, just tossing one in the cart in a hurry, I wondered if the ad had a subconscious effect on me.

How much am I a pawn of the advertising industry, even when I think I'm in such control of my grocery budget?

And along the same lines: Do coupons & ads end up saving me enough money to make it worth the product saturation of my brain?

Anonymous said...

I pay no attention to product placements and often buy generic. On many things, I can tell absolutely no difference other than the price. :)

Meredith said...

I love those butter crocks, too! Half-pint HOuse, you always inspire me!

I think Tuesday Morning has the french butter bells as an advertised special this week.

Anonymous said...

I must tune most out. I'm registered with a company that does focus groups. They pay you to sit and give your opinions. To qualify for groups they do some screening questions over the phone. I have never qualified for the marketing ones because I never "recall seeing advertising for such and such product...."
However, my 5 year old informed me yesterday that not only does Coke sponsor the Olympic games, but McDonalds does too! That girl will go into marketing and I think they should hire her for focus groups!

Debbie said...

I am too frugal (actually, cheap) to pay attention to product placement and ads. I'll know what ads are where, but they don't influence my purchasing, unless I have a great coupon!

letterstoelijah said...

I can fall victim too often! But then I get back on that frugal horse!

Edi said...

I usually shop at Aldi and thrift stores - so name brand advertising doesn't affect me much...or so I think.

In high school I did a project for science class (or some other class)on subliminal advertising. On my cover page I subliminally wrote in 100 percent or A+ in the art work. Not sure if it worked or not - but I did get a very good grade on the paper.

Sandy said...

To be honest - on blogs - I don't even notice the advertisements. I just want the meat!

Yummy-looking breakfast :)

mama k said...

I'm not so much swayed my marketing. I'm by nature a pretty skeptical person so I always try to make an informed decision.

The only thing that gets to me is fast food commercials. Which is odd, because we eat pretty healthy around here. hmmm maybe that's just the reason... LOL

Tubo Family said...

Ditto to Mama K! It never fails that I can bypass all the soda and chips and candy at the grocery store but then be goggle-eyed by a McDonald's ad.

kari and kijsa said...

Thank you for your encouraging words... Thank you again for all your thoughtful comments, time and prayers.

kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read that people mix canola oil in with butter. The Tightwad Gazette suggested mixing sticks of margarine and skimmed milk, which I did with good results a number of times. Here in England, margarine is not sold in sticks and butter is far more expensive than tubs of marg, so I don't bother.

pilgrimhen said...

Don't have tv, so I miss most the ads. Also have ad blockers, popup blockers, flash blockers, etc. on the computer. But in-store ads, specials, etc. can grab me sometimes. And coupons. My grocery store sends me coupons every couple weeks - I TRY to wait until the item is on sale before I use my coupon. But I am finding I buy things I would not usually buy. My coupons are connected to this big brother-esque computer database somewhere, so they are geared to what I buy... usually. Yesterday I was in the store and talking on cell to my best friend. She asked me to bring her 2 avocados and some "Seattle's Best coffee, Henry's Blend" and I don't drink or buy coffee. I guarantee that in a month I will get a couple gourmet coffee coupons!

Heather Anne said...

We too are disconnected from advertising as much as possible - no t.v., ads blocked on the computer, and we even recycle the sales fliers in the Sunday paper without even looking at them, unless there is something specific we are shopping for. Our children are not walking billboards - we don't buy anything with big logos splashed across the chest or bum. We buy good quality, not by brand name.
It is alarming to me how much children are marketed to - we are raising a generation super consumers! Even the cars we buy are build to appeal to the 'tweeners and teens!

I found that it really made my personal struggle with discontent more difficult when we casually exposed ourselves to marketing schemes. It is hard enough to find contentment in this society of entitlement and excess, even within the Christian community. It is easy to be consumed by acquiring possessions since there is a temporary 'thrill' involved in the purchase - even for us bargain hunters! I think it can almost be addictive - for me at least.
So, I hope I am not easily influenced by advertisers, but maybe I am! After all, I bought a different brand of tea because I had a $1 off coupon ....

Marsha said...

I think everyone is influenced by advertising--it's just a matter of how much. I think you probably chose this brand because it was familiar to you. You're tired, pregnant, and dealing with a medical condition. You were vulnerable to the advertising you've been exposed to. I don't think it's something to worry about, because when you're feeling better, your frugal brain will kick in.

I understand your concern about using coupons, though. I worry that I'll get hooked on an expensive product that I pick up cheap one time with a coupon. I buy mostly generic or store brands, which are really just as good--or good enough. I think part of the problem is fighting the mindset that we have to have the best of everything. Take the margarine. Maybe the brand you bought IS the best tasting light margarine available. But would another cheaper brand or generic be "good enough"? How important is it to have the best tasting light margarine? Probably not too important in the scheme of things, especially if it costs you a lot more in the long run.

One thing I enjoy about this blog is how introspective you are, and how you examine your motives on many things you do. It keeps me thinking.

Oh, and enjoy the margarine while it lasts. I'm sure next time you'll choose something cheaper or make your own!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting at my blog, Meredith!

I was wondering about this myself recently. I'm sort of happy to have found some good products for free doing the drugstore game, but I'm not inclined to pay for them in the future - even if I like them. But I felt my resolve in this decreasing when I found a good product for my curly hair. Maybe it's ok because it is something I really benefit from? It won't be a frugal activity in the end if it just makes me want more expensive things.

With food products, I generally go for the plain and simple, and then the on sale. I think the marketing doesn't impact me as much there, because I'm more particular about what kinds of products I want. But it's definitely something to be mindful of.


Anonymous said...

I love Marsha's comment about "good enough!" That is something you never hear. Always has to be "the best." When I think in terms of "good enough," there is a little part of me that feels bad because we are always supposed to be trying to get the best, right? Have to reframe that into doing the best I can with what I've got, which is a much bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

I have started to become more frugal in terms of my grocery shopping and my hunt for frugality has led me to a store called Aldi. I really love Aldi. But today when I went because I ran out of my Jiff peanut butter and my Kraft American cheese, I started sweating it when I bought Aldi brand peanut butter and cheese.

I was amazed at myself for not feeling comfortable switching brands for those products, and obviously I feel like my constant absorption of their marketing has made me feel guilty and that another product is subpar in comparison.

But I'm trying to keep it all in perspective and realize that it's just peanut butter and cheese we're talking about here.... : )

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that others admit to falling prey to sneaky advertising. I find that when I buy shampoo. I usually buy the cheapest brand but that I have seen in the ads more than the others. Who knew that the shampoo aisle could be so overwhelming with all of the choices.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog.

I ordered the book by Rachael Crabb yesterday that you recommended sometime ago. I am looking forward to reading it.

I love to visit your blog and see what nuggets of inspiration you are sharing each day.

Anonymous said...

I think we definitely build relationships, even unconsciously, with brands that's it's scary. If I'm in a place I've never been, I'll go to a MacDonalds or Wendys for food even though I wouldn't even think of going there in my hometown. I'm not a huge fan of fast food but when you're in a new place, there is comfort in that brand even if it's not your favorite.

Anonymous said...

The shampoo etc. thing is a hard one for me too Anon--I have long hair and I'm always thinking this or that *must* be better. Accumulated so many half-used bottles as I got drawn to yet another one. Finally realized that in that particular category, I needed to make a decision for extreme brand loyalty: Suave, and I buy it only when it is on sale for 88 cents a bottle. It's a "rule!" Bottom line, end of story, no temptation. Bathroom cabinet is less cluttered, "hair expense" is way down (and it looks as good as it's ever gonna look anyway)...though I did pick up a different brand on the clearance shelf for 49 cents a bottle once because how can you pass that up? :)

kari and kijsa said...

It's amazing how much effect advertising can have on us! Great topic.

Have a blessed day!

smiles, kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

I think these questions are to be asked: Were there any other "light butters" on the shelf? Were you specifically looking for "light butter"?

If you said you were in a hurry, it might have been the first item with the label "light butter" that you saw, making it good placement. But if you saw two packages with the same "light butter" label on it, same price, then it might have been subliminal.