This week, we've been talking about product loyalty and product branding, from Coca-Cola’s attempt to re-brand itself as an anti-obesity company, to Lance Armstrong’s attempt to re-brand himself as a remorseful man, worthy of redemption.
Today, we continue the conversation with a look at a product whose customer loyalty goes beyond the limits of most of our imaginations.
It’s a product that’s been around since 1946, in the midst of the baby boom: Tide detergent. Tide revolutionized the way Americans did laundry. It made it washing clothes significantly less laborious, and less damaging to the clothes themselves. Today, Tide is a $1.7 billion dollar business representing a third of the liquid detergent market, and it ranks as one of the three brands that consumer say they would not give up during a recession.
But sometimes brand loyalty of this magnitude can lead to problems. In the case of Tide, brand loyalty is now being cashed in on by criminals, who steal Tide in large quantities and sell it on the streets at far cheaper prices to raise money for the drug trade. Some stores are losing over $15,000 in Tide each month to shoplifters.
The world of Tide loyalty and theft is explored in an article by Ben Paynter in New York Magazine called "Suds for Drugs." James Burnett, news editor of New York Magazine, explores this strange new trend.