Wednesday, May 24, 2023

So much pandering

I wish businesses just did business and stayed out of social issues and politics. Just offer products and services and stop pandering to various demographics.

I don't have a leg to stand on to criticize this, since it’s a mistake I made when I had a business. Twice. Still, it annoys me and I wouldn't do it again. 

Of course, it could be argued I pander to liberty lovers, but since I am one and it's not just an act I put on to manipulate others, I would disagree.

Maybe I would feel differently about pandering in general if major corporations pandered to my love of liberty. I suppose some gun manufacturers kinda do that, but it doesn't really have much of an effect on how I feel about their products. Since I don't have money to spend on buying guns it doesn't much matter anyway.

Some pandering targeted at me misses the mark. Due to my location, I constantly see ads extolling the virtue of this or that "truck" (really a pickup) Made For Texans or something silly. It usually makes me roll my eyes and mutter "Stop pandering" under my breath. 

"Pride" month is just more of the same and curdles my innards.

When I notice the pandering, I hate it. Perhaps if they are pandering to me it doesn't feel like pandering. When they are pandering to someone else, the pandering is obvious and looks stupid.

Is there more to gain than to lose by spending so much time, effort, and money pandering rather than simply offering products and services? I have no idea, but since it seems they are all doing it nowadays, there must seem to be some benefit. Even as it makes me disgusted with them and their "brand".

Help me cover the expense of my colon surgery, if you can and if you want to.
Thank you!


  1. It's impossible to disagree with you, Kent, but this gets close :-)

    Elementary marketing/salesmanship principle: show your prospect what benefits your offered product will bring to HIM. I see that as good sense and efficiency, not pandering.

    Real example: some years ago a British car maker published an ad for a model that showed how well it performed on the roads and in the climate of Nigeria. Fine. But the ad was placed in newspapers in Sweden.

    Trucks for Texans? Sure, why not? The promo might emphasize the fuel economy and driver comfort, that suit the long distances traveled in those parts. It might also mention the image of a rifle, standard in the rear window, and the optional-extra of a place to secure a flag (yes, okay, a Holy Pole Quilt.) Such features might boost sales.

    1. I don't see the trucks "for Texas" offering anything that's unique for Texas roads, conditions, or drivers though. Just the same features as those available anywhere else (except they sometimes have an emblem with the word "Texas" on them)-- and I've seen the same sort of ads when I lived in other states, trying to position their standard product as made for that state, too. It looks deceptive and manipulative to me.
      Maybe if they actually offered something other than a wink that "you're special because you live in Texas" it would be different.

  2. The literal meaning of "pander" is "to provide gratification for others' desires."

    If you're not pandering, you're not doing the business thing right.

    When the pandering becomes political or ideological, that could be accidental ... or it could be a matter of increasing your business's profile with a market segment that's likely to buy from you, at the expense of a market segment that isn't.

    I suspect that the Anheuser-Busch thing with Bud Light was an accident -- it just never occurred to them that one of their customer bases would completely lose its mind over it pandering to a different customer base.

    On the other hand, I suspect that the "Target sells tuck-friendly bathing suits" moral panic was intentionally created. Target knows that the people who are losing their minds over it aren't the people who shop there ... and that the people who shop there will notice the unhinged ranting ... and respond with dollars to Target.

    1. I want businesses to pander by providing products I want at prices I can afford. I don't want them to pander to me by offering the standard crap while saying "Hey, I'm on your team". There seems to be a huge difference between the two tactics.

      When I had businesses I tried to pander to liberty lovers. The problem being that there weren't any of them around.

    2. There's a market segment that, offered two trucks of the same quality and price, will go with the brand that panders to their regional, professional, or other identitarian "pride."

      I used to make mustard for French's. It had the largest market share in the world for "cream salad mustard," what most people think of as just "yellow mustard."


      Not because it was a different product than other yellow mustards. In fact, we MADE a lot of the "store brand" mustards on contract. The only physical differences were the label and one ingredient ("Flavor B," a "secret ingredient" that, so far as I could tell, made no difference whatsoever; unsurprising, given its component ingredients, which I happened to know because I'm the one who added or didn't add the stuff to the mustard I was milling).

      The sales/market share difference was marketing -- lots of commercials associating French's with baseball, hot dogs, mom, and MURKA (it was a British company, btw -- in fact, one of the mustards we made was Colman's, the official mustard of the British royal family).

      People paid twice as much for the same mustard -- and bought more of it than any other brand -- because the marketing pandered to their prejudices.

      One of the recent innovations on pandering to prejudices is to pick one "culture war prone" group to piss off, so that they'll announce a "boycott," prompting that group's opponents to conduct a "buycott."

      Chik-fil-A makes huge bank every time its owner donates money to an anti-LGBTQLMNOP group. The "gay pride" people pledge never to eat there (they weren't anyway because this has been going on for decades), and the "evangelical Christians pledge TO eat there ... then create lines at the drive-thrus extending down the street.

      Target goes the other way. They know it's easy to get some yammerheads who don't shop there anyway screeching about swim suits with "tuck pockets," after which every "gender/sexual minority" shopper in the country, and all their friends and family, will make it a point to go there instead of Walmart.

      I kind of agree with you that it kind of sucks. But really, it's all just about the money. They do this stuff because it works.

    3. I guess I'm just cynical about it all.