March 24, 2008

Snatching Defeat From Jaws Of Victory

Thanks to guest blogger John Joss for this contribution

Examples of ‘new, improved’ product design of staggering stupidity that replaces a functional and effective product abound. Few examples plumb the depths of Schering-Plough’s raging incompetence with its Tinactin, an athlete’s-foot cure used by millions. Fewer are now using it, because the ‘new, improved’ packaging is deeply dysfunctional.

The old design—a small plastic bottle with tiny spout that let a user apply the cure cleanly and precisely, in small amounts—worked brilliantly. Then some Schering-Plough genius decided to discontinue this packaging and substituted a hand-pump bottle that spreads product inaccurately, all over the top of the foot, washbasin and toilet boil, to be dried and mopped up with tissues. Huh?

Were they following the approach used by a toothpaste manufacturer that raised consumption 30% or so by making the orifice larger? Cynical but effective. Certainly the ‘new, improved,’ pump forces one to use more product.

The new design’s breathtaking incompetence compels this former customer (I tossed it) to consider that whoever committed the new leap backwards had (1) never suffered from athlete’s foot and (2) had never used either the old or new packaging. If I could, I’d go over to Schering-Plough with a baseball bat and try to get his or her attention. Imagine: some idiot was actually paid money to screw up a perfectly satisfactory product. Any competent ad man could have told them. And don’t get me started on their website incompetence.

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