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Happiness For Sale: Jank Coffee   (March 21, 2006)

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the trend for marketing companies to cash in on academic research into what makes us happy. Unsurprisingly, Happiness is for sale--for a price.

According to Happiness Inc.: Science is exploring the roots of joy and companies are putting the findings to work (subscription required, but check the local library for the March 18 edition), researchers can help your salespeople overcome the sales-blues caused by customers walking away, or sharpen your marketing to take advantage of the happy fact that insecure people tend to boost their self-esteem and self-fulfillment by--hold onto your hat--impulse shopping.

Dang, who'd a thunk it?

The Happiness researchers also found that the anticipation of the activity (or purchase) created more joy than the actual activity (or purchase).

Building on the success of my work for Kroika Cookie and Biscuit Company, Ltd., (Xiangxi, China), I've been contracted to design the initial ad campaign for Jank Coffee. More about the shadowy owners of Jank Coffee later, but first, feast your eyes on the ad I've designed to exploit all that fancy research into Happiness. (To see the full animation, please re-load this webpage.)

While I don't want to delve too deeply into the secret ingredients and subtexts of the ad, I will point out a few obvious features:
  • Products which make you feel special, or better yet, revel in your blazingly wonderful specialness, make you happy. Thus, at Jank, you can order it "your way," even if it's blatantly foolish and a complete waste of money.
  • Why be coy about the rip-off price of a cup o' Jank? The higher the price you pay, the more special you are! So we announce right off that the price is ridiculously high. You'll only want it more because it's so clearly premium.
  • Just in case you didn't get it, the ad finishes strong: "cause you're worth it!"

    In other words, here you are, a cog in some bureaucratic machine, underappreciated and underpaid, slogging through hideous traffic and all the other annoyances of life, thinking, "What's in it for me?" when suddenly that cute little Jank Coffee shop beckons. "Cause you're worth it!" the ad says, and you think, subconsciously or consciously, "dang right I'm worth it!" Hey, it's not grammatical, but that didn't hurt Apple's "think different," did it? Heck no, it showed they could care less about those stupid details! Right on, Jank! Stick it to the grammar Man!

    So you wander in and order a cup o' Jank your way, with soy milk foam and chocolate sprinkles, and you feel better about yourself, and thus fortified to sally forth and do battle with a cold, uncaring world.

    That was probably the best $3 you ever spent, because look at the big payoff you got for a measly three smackeroos. Cause you're worth it, and Jank is happy you are.


    copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

    I would be honored if you linked this wEssay to your site, or printed a copy for your own use.


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