When you hear the phrase “new and improved,” what is your first thought?
Being the slightly cynical person that I am, my initial reaction is that someone is trying to dupe me with a marketing tactic. I suspect that nothing substantive has been changed, but lacking anything substantial to proclaim, they fall back on trumpeting that their product is “new and improved.” It must be that some people are sucked into this ruse or else why would marketing folks persist in perpetuating such a ploy?
Therefore, I quickly dismiss all claims of “new and improved”—unless it is for a product that I use—then I panic.
Although “new and improved” sometimes seems to only apply to the packaging, that phrase still produces fear and trepidation in me when referring to products that I use. I worry that “new and improved” actually means “we’ve-changed-this-just-enough-so-that-you’ll-no-longer-like-it.” Unfortunately, personal experience backs up that concern as being a realistic one.
The logic behind “new and improved” probably assumes that existing users will continue to buy it—even if the packaging has changed so much that only the brand name is recognizable. The bonus kicks in from people who never used it, but are predisposed to try anything new, as well as those who didn’t like it before, but will give it a fresh look. Therefore, I guess we are stuck with “new and improved” products.
Still, “new and improved” does nothing for me; I’ll take “tried and true” any day.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is publisher, editor, author, and blogger with 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for tips and insights.