The Lie of Ty

When we were moving out of our apartment this spring we decided to get rid of some of my old PlayStation 2 games (circa 2000).

Many of them were worthless but a few of them sold for good money and a couple sold for more than they we bought them for! Which, of course, reminded me of the “Lie of Ty”.

Ty is the toy company responsible for the Beanie Baby craze in my childhood. “If you buy our toys now and keep them nice they’ll be collectors items someday!” Or so they said.

It was brilliant marketing in some ways. It changed the emotion from, “I love my old, favorite stuffed animals,” to, “I love getting new ones,” because parents told kids not to play with them (don’t bend the tag).

A few Beanie Babies have kept their promise, like this rare Princess Dianna baby listed for a quarter of a million dollars. But for the most part, they’re almost worthless.

I was reminded of all of this when I was buying paint at Lowes, naturally. We were considering whether or not to buy a premium brand or not and the salesman said, “I’d go with the cheaper brand, it looks the same on the wall.”

For a “value minded consumer” (read cheap-o), that was music to my ears. His honesty earned my trust. And loyalty always follows trust. So, even with a Home Depot down the road, I’ve bought all our paint from that man at Lowes. And I’ve asked him to sell me rollers, cloths, buckets and more.

So let me ask you, which is the better strategy? Sure, Beanie Babies sold a lot. And part of that was due to this resale marketing strategy. But is anyone really thankful they bought so many. Is anyone loyal to the people who sold them to you? Does anyone really trust them?

So this is a blog about marketing strategy, I guess. Or about honesty. Really it’s about wishing those two went hand-in-hand more often.

But snake oil marketers are having a harder and harder time finding gullible buyers. The “Let me Google that” generation is going to change a lot…