#DVAM 2016

October is the month for pumpkin spice lattes, the end of OCR, Homecoming, and Halloween.

More importantly, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (#DVAM16)

I implore all of you to take a stand against assault, abuse, and domestic violence.

If you or a loved one are in an abusive relationship, the following resources may guide you:

Please remember that it is never the survivor‚Äôs fault, and that healing is a long process. Unconditional love and support, as well as showing them and the rest of the world that you believe violence in any form is unacceptable, are the best things you can give to a survivor ūüôā

If you believe you or someone you know is abusive, take responsibility. Silence is condoning violence. Time does not heal the pain from an assault or abuse; action does. Responsibility includes seeking professional counseling and therapy and/or enrolling in intervention programs to prevent further violence and to address the root cause. Change is possible ūüôā


The Warby Parker Way

I recently had¬†a wonderful experience at the Warby Parker¬†flagship retail store in SoHo’s Cast Iron District. It was my first time at a Warby Parker (WP) store as well as my first time in SoHo.

Brands constantly strive to find creative ways to keep their customers engaged, both online and offline. How do you create a memorable and positive experience for your consumers that reflects your brand’s personality and mission? For some stores, like Nordstrom, this means providing customers excellent customer service and making sure that every shopper feels like a valued customer. WP has to worker even harder to make sure that their customers have a great¬†experience at their flagship store since it is one of their very few retail locations. In their flagship store, WP has a trendy photo booth so casual browsers and customers alike can take home¬†a fun memento. The photo booth¬†also enhances WP’s mission statement¬†by showing customers¬†that buying glasses can be a fun experience. I noticed lots of young kids having a blast with the photo booth and then quickly sharing their photos on Instagram and Snapchat. WP is excellent at maintaining a positive social media presence, and free advertising from fans never hurts. I even tweeted at them to compliment their photo booth idea and someone replied to me.

My only criticism of the WP flagship store is that I would have liked to see more information about one of the main reasons I purchase WP glasses: for every pair of glasses sold, WP produces another pair of glasses and sells them to a person in need for a heavily discounted price. To me, that is one of their competitive advantages over Lenscrafter and Visionworks. Not only do customers pay considerably less money for equally trendy glasses at WP, but they also have an opportunity to support a great cause. Unfortunately, the flagship store does not highlight this part of the WP mission statement.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cannes Lions 2016

Hello, world! Apologies for disappearing – I was busy wrapping up my junior year at Penn and starting my summer marketing internship at Ruckus. More details about my internship to come soon!

In the meantime, I want to share some of my favorite video campaigns from Cannes Lions 2016.

  1. AirbnbLive in the Movies: This highly visual, imaginative campaign that ran during the Oscars invites viewers to picture themselves living anywhere from Mars to Westeros.
  2. PedigreeDog Channel: This campaign was recognized at Cannes for its creative use of screens. First of all, how can anyone not love an ad filled with adorable dogs? Secondly, what a wonderful way to display important information on screens that are normally wasted!
  3. Hyundai Motor GroupGoing Home: Hyundai, a South Korean company, finds a way to show an elderly man from North Korea what his childhood home looks like now. Not only is the campaign a refreshing change from traditional car commercials, but the artistry and effects are fantastic.
  4. People for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsBehind the Leather: Ogilvy & Mather created one of the most powerful advertisements I have ever seen.
    WARNING: This is a very graphic, disturbing ad.


Sale Prices are the Regular Prices?

Recently, in my MKTG 211 class (with Professor Barbara Mellers), we discussed the actual definition of a “sale” and how corporations have trained consumers using anchoring techniques into believing they are earning great savings when they purchase a product for its discounted/sale price.

Our conclusion? Sale prices are intentionally misleading.

The majority of companies actually sell products at the “sale” or “discounted” price for the bulk of a selling season. The “original” or “regular” price is simply a reference price for companies to print on the tags of products so that they can deceive consumers into believing products on sale are great deals. This strategy is referred to as a high-low pricing scheme, and occurs when firms set prices at an initially high level for a brief period of time and then discount the product for the majority of the selling period.¬†Consumers have been trained to¬†believe that the greater the difference between the reference price and the sale price, the greater the savings. However, if companies barely sell products at the reference price (both in terms of unit volume or monetary value) then can this price really be considered the¬†original/regular price? Companies even mark-up original prices before holding sales so their margins are increased, despite leading consumers to believe that they have actually slashed prices. The modern¬†promotional and bargain-driven culture further trains consumers to expect products to be on sale regularly, and to use the difference between reference and discount prices as the sole metric for finding a good deal.

Developing a solution to combat companies’ opaque pricing schemes is complex. With regards to developing a standard reference price across industries, perhaps companies should use the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Using the MSRP would prevent stores from abusing price markups in order to implement deceptive high-low pricing schemes. However, using the MSRP could lead to lower sales and therefore encourage manufacturers to potentially artificially inflate their own MSRP in order to preserve high-low pricing schemes.

Another proposed solution is to list a product’s complete pricing history on the tag. By listing the complete pricing history, companies cannot be accused of withholding important product information from consumers. In addition, consumers would be able to clearly see through high-low pricing schemes. However, a complete pricing history could be an overwhelming amount of information for consumers, especially on a small price tag. In addition, many large retailers and discount stores (where high-low pricing schemes are prevalent) do not even use price “tags” on their products but rather price labels on the shelves where the product is stored. A potential alternative to having complete pricing history available on the product itself is having price scanners throughout a store where an interested consumer can scan the item in order to learn its entire pricing history. However, this system could be expensive for companies to implement.

For now, until a solution is developed and relevant legislation is passed in order to protect consumers from the aforementioned deceptive pricing strategies, consumers can protect themselves simply by being aware that sales are not necessarily real sales.


About Me

Hi! My name is Aishwarya Saluja, and I’m currently a junior at the Wharton School studying marketing and strategic management.

I’m from Hedgesville, West Virginia and currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I love daydreaming about brands and UX, photography, running, playing squash, and hanging out with my dog.

Email Me.¬†I’d love to chat!