Friday, December 07, 2007

Ice, Crack...It seemed to make sense at the time.

For the Unfortunate Product/Packaging Decisions file:
Sugary Candy Looks Too Much Like Street Drugs, Cops Say.
Story via the 23/6 News.

I have to wonder if this was someone's idea of a joke that went too far or if they just hired some "heads" in the packaging design department. Hey! They call crystal meth "ice." Ice cracks. Crack and ice come in little baggies. Yeah. Let's put this new, powdery Ice Breakers candy in something that looks like a crack bag. Heh, heh. I said crack. Heh, heh, heh.

In the photo: something illegal on the left, Hershey's Ice Breakers Pacs on the right.

This reminds me of the one time that picking up trash outside my house proved fortuitous for my students. My house is on a corner a block away from one of those corner stores where commerce takes place inside and out. One of the many unfortunate results of this activity is the commercial and contraband trash that ends up on the ground in a two block radius of the store. A lot of time my time is spent picking it up (and I've found some truly disgusting things out there), but only once was there a payoff.

On this particularly fateful day, among the detritus I found a tiny baggie similar to the one in the picture on the left, but with a little marijuana leaf on it. (Though, clearly it was not marijuana that had been in the bag.) A scene began to play out in my head of a marketing department meeting in the corporate offices of some plastics manufacturer. When the subject of product development comes up, some young upstart proposes targeting the illegal drug trade segment. The idea of the putting an image of a crack pipe on the bag is dismissed over the more universally embraced marijuana leaf. The company decides to list the product under Retailer and Dealer Supplies.

I stuck the baggie in my pocket and pulled it out that night in my Principles class when we talked about market segmentation. Feedback indicated that the example was a huge success and the students really got it. (And for some reason, marketing segmentation generally is not *gotten* easily.)

I considered saving the baggie for use in future classes but couldn't figure out how to store it without the risk of someone finding it and getting the wrong idea. I guess I could have sent a notice to everyone in my department saying, "I wish to go on the record that I have an empty crack bag in my office. I found it on the ground outside my house. It's a great and memorable classroom prop for explaining market segmentation. Please don't judge me too harshly."

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Blogger Wuttisak said...

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3:47 PM  
Blogger mominem said...

Great concept.

The Marijuana Leaf has been used a lot, but never that I know of in a mainstream product.

You could always make a replica of the bag marked Sample.

10:38 AM  
Blogger New Orleans News Ladder said...

Good for you that they reduced the crack sentencing requirements for 'quantity', eh? (Seriously though, you might have one of your students check the bags residue:)
Next thing you know Hersey's will hire Nagin to market Milk Duds.
The world is going to the Mall in a Hand Basket.
I put you onto the Ladder today.

7:46 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

I think I'll have to settle for just telling the story to the class, reduced sentencing or not. It's still pretty effective that way.

Thanks for the ad, NONL. One day soon, I'll update my links. It should be easy, as you and a bunch more that need to be added are nicely organized on my feed reader.

I have a LOT of updating to do, in general.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Deviant said...

This reminds of a prank some friends told me about recently.

One of my friends went up to another with a vial of an unknown substance. "Its heroin! I got heroin!" he said. My second friend is in shock, he says, "Oh my god, how could you? Why would you!?"

My first friend explains that the drug dealer had a special on heroin that night. So my second friend goes, "Oh my god.....can we do it on friday??"

It turns out it wasn't heroin, it was just sugar, my first friend was just pranking my second.

The real punchline is that they both think I'm an alcoholic. With friends like these...

8:58 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Well, Kevin, I think I smoked some oregano as a young, naive teenager. At least I was not the only one who fell for it on the day in question. And it was better than any actual marijuana experience I ever had. (And no one's ever thought I was a pot-head. Given the very unpleasant effect it has on me, the idea is quite laughable.)

9:20 PM  

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