I don’t know much about marketing – except when it screws me over

I am a smoker (please save your criticisms – I don’t want to hear them.  If you like weird ass music played at unreal volumes then you pollute my air as much as I pollute yours.  And yes, I was a respiratory therapist – so I know all about the health affects. And no, I don’t smoke around you.  No I do not smoke in a restaurant.  No I do not throw my butts on the ground.)

But as a smoker I am a consumer that is extremely brand loyal.

For the last decade or more my brand has been Doral Menthol Light 100’s.

But Doral, for some reason, decided to change their packaging from soft packs to boxes.  Every pack I have purchased in the last few weeks has a huge red exclamation point on an insert in the pack along with the text, “WE HAVE IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT THIS PACK” (they were yelling there, not me).

When you pull out the little insert with the text it unfolds into a little tri-fold brochure that extols the virtues that they will deliver to me through their new packaging. They are hyper-selling me on how great the new “box” will be.

Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck if they package it in a tin foil.  But they have to make it available.  Or I’ll change brands.

And they haven’t made it available.  I guess they are in between switching packaging – but for two weeks now their product, which I am admittedly addicted to, is NOT available.  Not anywhere around me.  Not at the largest grocery chain – not at the local convenience store.

So I changed brands.

Just like that, after over ten years and more money than I care to think of.  Certainly more than a new car costs.

And they lost me – forever, probably.  Because they not only marketed something to me I couldn’t get (the shiny new box) but they also failed to deliver what I was already sold on (the un-shiny old soft pack).

And the little insert reads, “Same look, same premium taste, same great value, ALL PACKED IN A BOX.”

Sorry. No box, no premium taste, no look whatsoever, and absolutely no value to me.

So the lesson here is that if you get me hooked on your product, you damn sure better deliver it – or I’ll find another dealer.  I don’t give a rats ass about the box – I just need my fix.

But now I have a new supplier – and Doral lost a damn fine customer.

Make sure your production can back up your marketing, or you’ll piss people off.

And make sure you are really adding value to your customer when you make a change.  There was ZERO value to me for getting my smokes in a box. But not being able to buy my brand forced me to find a new one.

Stupid Marketing 101.