The warning signs were everywhere on the internet. A basic Google search would have revealed that Brett Favre is currently endorsing crappy razor blades and useless compression sleeves. One honest look at the reviews would have been enough to spare me the knife’s edge – at least I’ll avoid cheaply made compression sleeves. But somehow I couldn’t be reached. Somehow a late night TV ad featuring Brett Favre’s virile endorsement of “a year’s worth of shaving for only $19.99” combined with the As Seen on TV aisle in Target sealed my fate. Thankfully Target accepted the return of my blood-drenched razor blades – bless their return policy.
As the MicroTouch3 Tough Blade sliced into my neck with “made in Germany” ferocity, angry questions ran through my head. Why would you lie to me, Brett Favre? Why would you sell razor blades made from German jail shanks? Why do you suck so much? As the anger subsided, I realized Brett Favre could not be fully blamed. It was I who bought into his ploy, and it was with my own hands that I purchased the blades that sliced my own throat.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I allowed myself to get sucked into a game of hocus-pocus marketing, also referred to as “alternative facts” by some. The statements made in the commercial disarmed the critical thinking part of my brain and convinced me to just believe Brett Favre instead of doing my due diligence: “look at the reviews online,” “don’t let the price fool you,” “they don’t seem to get dull,” “German engineered,” “now the #1 selling blade in drug stores.” The statements completely removed any doubt in my mind. I mean honestly, if they’re telling me to look at the reviews, why should I have any doubt that they are bad reviews? Nobody tells you to do something that would negatively impact them right? Wrong! Had I fact-checked and done everything the commercial asked me to do, I would have been spared the sting of my own stupidity.
Before this experience, I had some faith in the power of free markets to combat any evil in a capitalist market. It just made sense that consumers would reject products that weren’t benefiting them and that the producers of those horrible products would eventually go out of business. This experience is a clear example of why I’m dead wrong.
Imagine a game where all you have to do is get people to try your product because once they do, they become a well-defined set of statistics that will most likely keep the horrible product you just convinced them to buy. By the time a significant number of consumers realize they bought a horrible product and write reviews to warn others about their suffering, the market has already absorbed the useless product and the makers have profited. Now all peddlers have to us is lie low until the consumers forget what they did to them and just repackage their endorsements into another set of useless products. At least that’s what this experience and some brief research into the history of Brett Favre endorsements indicates to me.
In my case, Brett Favre and his amazingly drafted sales pitch got my attention and planted the seed for my future purchase. I didn’t make the purchase right away because I didn’t want to give my credit card number away on the phone. Also, I knew the shipping and handling costs would add to my bill. But rest assured, my attention was given and I was smitten.
What followed was manufactured serendipity in the form of a Target aisle full of As Seen on TV products. As I foolishly walked through the Cave of Wonders, the shiny blades with Brett Favre’s face on it caught my attention. I walked up to it, I saw all the visual cues of a good product in demand: it was well packaged, had consistent messaging, and it was the last one available. Wow, I thought, if Brett Favre says it’s good and people are buying this product, it must be good! So, I threw it in my cart and took it home.
The one thing I will give the MicroTouch 3 credit for it is that the packaging is child proof, but not idiot proof because I was able to open the packaging. God help us all if a child got into these blades – death would surely follow. As I got past the packaging, the actual product felt pretty good my hands. It has weight and there’s no signs that you’ll be slicing open your neck very soon. I applied shaving gel and then proceeded to have a meet-and-greet with the blood that sustains my life all over the bathroom.
The sad thing about this whole affair is that my testimony is not going to save anyone. I know people are buying this blade and proceeding to chop through their necks unexpectedly. Sometimes you have to feel the blood dripping from your face before you heed the warning of those who have suffered before you. I wish you all my sincerest and deepest sympathies as you partake in the pain of hocus-pocus marketing. Hopefully you don’t die and get a full refund.
Benjamin Shibata is no longer on speaking terms with Brett Favre. You should follow him on Twitter.