• Innovation to maintain product freshness

  • How we see a product is a constant challenge to marketers. Sure, we all know the brand name, but what do we actually think of the product itself? You might think this a strange question, but it's actually fundamental to the selling process. The fact we might know the name doesn't mean we'll buy. In a sense, that's the point of competition. Once we have a choice, we might all know the names of the key players, but why should we stay loyal to any one of them when, truth be told, there's not actually that much difference in performance. In the case of the erectile dysfunction drugs, you only have three names to remember and, perhaps importantly, all three are effective (albeit in slightly different ways). So we might change from one to the other based on price or just the accident of what we decide to ask for when ordering. That threat keeps the competition hot. No one manufacturer can afford to relax whether in the marketing through ads or developing the product.

    Why change a winning formula? you ask. Well, if it's same/old, same/old we get bored or take the product for granted. But if a new version or format comes on to the market, this stimulates discussion. Will it work just the same or, perhaps, faster? Can we take it in a more discreet way? There are so many different ways in which an old product might be improved. And it's always good if potential buyers are talking about the product because that reinforces the brand identity.Innovation to maintain product freshness

    So the manufacturers have discovered there are a significant number of men who either don't like taking pills or find the process of swallowing it a little obvious in public. The research teams have therefore been working quietly away to devise ever more discreet ways of delivering the active ingredients. Pfizer decided the best answer was an ordinary-looking piece of gum. This can easily be slipped into a pack with a standard label and chewed just before sexual activity is expected. This also has the advantage that the active chemicals arrive in the stomach as a liquid. There's no delay as the stomach acids attack a tablet. The chemicals can be absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and reduce the waiting time before sex can be attempted. One of the rival manufacturers has produced a melt-in-the-mouth-not -in-the-hand version. This is slipped into the mouth where it effervesces in the saliva and the resulting liquid is swallowed.

    Which version is better? Well, that's hardly the point is it. Given some men have been crushing pills because they can't swallow them, the problems of getting the resulting "dust" into the stomach have been challenging. Both new versions solve the problem. So you could look out for the gum or the fizzy one. Assuming they are a success, you can expect to see them rolled out to markets around the world. Or you can stay with Cialis. This is the drug with the unbeatable 36-hour record. It doesn't need gimmicks. Everyone knows Cialis is the best. As to the taste of the gum. . . You might remember a song by Lonnie Donegan called Does Your Chewing Gun Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight? Asked first in 1959, it's just as valid a question today.

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