Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How stupid is the market becoming?

As a small shareholder in a tiny company, Brainstore. So I find that I am on its "VIP mailing list". One year, I was surprised to receive a broom as a gift from the company. Another year a sort of sign that read simply "It's possible". This year, I received a flower that had, not surprisingly, become completely crushed by the time it reached me through the post. By now sufficiently irritated, I wrote to the CEO to express my concern.

He replied that the company's marketing policy was to produce and send material that is "provocative, polarising, surprising and bold…(but) not expensive". Fair enough. But flowers that are going to be crushed and fragmented by the time they arrive?

Apparently about 80% of the recipients have reacted "very positively" to the mailings. No doubt to get me on his side he tells me that a professor at a Business School rang to say: "My colleague got a crazy present from you, can I get one as well?"

The CEO tells me that the average size of the order to the company has gone up about 500% in 6 years, and he puts that growth down to his marketing strategy.

As a shareholder, I'm not complaining any more.

But I do wonder what is happening to the market and to simple commonsense.

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