Marketers and the media play a big role in creating the value for these products, and if you are going to keep up with the Jones' then you need to do it with the right brands. When I was a kid my parents would take me to Sears to get my school clothes. At an early age I realized that the rich kids had Izod Crocodiles on their shirts, others had the JC Penny Fox, I was at the bottom of the food chain with the Sears Braggin' Dragon brand shirt. I wonder if companies left their logos and tags on the inside of the clothes if anybody would know the difference between them.
In High School I'd only wear Converse basketball shoes. They were endorsed by players like Dr. J, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. When Jordan came around Nike was the cool shoe. Today I'll take nearly any brand if they are on sale. I even find myself buying $12 generic sneakers at Walmart for just wearing around the house. I'm turning into my Dad. I know there is a difference in quality between brands, but I wonder how much difference there really is. I would obviously never run a marathon in generic $12 shoes, and if you've read my blog you know how I feel about buying the cheapest brand of answering machine.
Is a Montblanc pen really 50 times nicer than a Parker pen? If you've looked into luxury watches you know that a Rolex is obviously worth more than a Timex due to the materials and craftsmanship that go into it but a Timex actually keeps better time. Accurate time keeping is obviously not the main concern of a Rolex consumer. The value is in the attention and status it gives the owner and what it represents. I'm not judging anyone here either, I'd love a James Bond Omega Seamaster watch. Even if it came without the laser and flamethrower options.
I remember the first time I saw food in generic packaging. The Macaroni and Cheese boxes were stark black and white and were nearly half the price as the brand names. They were supposedly made in some of the same facilities as the ones in the nicer packaging. To this day my wife will only eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. She claims it is superior to any other brand. Would you rather have Chips a Hoy or Best Yet brand Chip-a-Riffic cookies? Are you a Lucky Charms person or are you okay with the Malt O Meal knock off called Marshmallow Mateys? A & W or Shasta root beer?
It's obvious there are quality differences between some products. I'd like to get some feedback about which products you feel have very little difference and which brand names you think are well worth the extra money and why you would pay more for them. Let's hear what you have to say on this topic.