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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Negative purchase dynamics pack punch


Your voice: Harry DeMaio

It was a tremendous blow to my sense of self-worth. I have received incontrovertible proof that I am not coveted.

This has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. The coveting I am talking about is that which builds lust in the hearts of marketers, advertisers, network programmers, media placement specialists, public relations firms, pollsters and movie/TV producers. At 69, I am well beyond the "coveted" 18-to-34 age bracket (or 49 if they're selling BMWs or Porsches.) My wife and I have been dumped in a marketing black hole.

Now, that's not entirely true. I still get some spam and pop-up ads on my computers in spite of protective software. Judging from the subjects, someone has discovered that I am a sexually dysfunctional, pill-popping, financially bankrupt, game-playing imbecile willing to send money to help a Nigerian get a fortune out of his country.

I wonder how they found out.

Not one Super Bowl ad was aimed at me. Actually, not one Super Bowl ad was aimed at anyone with an IQ greater than their waist size.

But all is not lost. Those of us with Golden Buckeye cards have more market power than we think. Several examples: Simply by becoming a regular, I have single-handedly caused at least four restaurants (and an entire chain) to close. I can absolutely guarantee that any item I purchase more than three times at any supermarket, discount store or upscale retailer will immediately disappear from the shelves forever. It's NPD - negative purchase dynamics.

Or, the product will be made available again, but only in package sizes designed to feed, wash, disinfect, lubricate or illuminate a small city. Home goods manufacturers have annihilated the ounce. The smallest package starts at pounds. SUVs and small trucks dominate because of soap flakes and breakfast cereal manufacturers.

One final example of NPD: For 10 years here in Cincinnati (and earlier in New York City), I was a premium elite titanium super privilege frequent flier. On Delta alone, I collected 1.8 million miles. I semi-retired in 2002 but even then piled up 70,000 miles in 2003. But this year, I haven't been on an airplane at all because of some complex back surgery. Delta has announced it is seriously considering filing for bankruptcy. I rest my case.

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Harry DeMaio of Anderson Township is a semi-retired multinational executive, consultant, author and professor at the Xavier University Graduate School of Business.

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