I got a Rockwell Jawstand RK9033 for my birthday today. It was a great birthday. I got to sleep in and my spouse cooked me a big, hot breakfast. I got to go tool shopping and then we went to the house while I tromped around looking out each window imagining what it will be like to live there. We got a birthday cake, watched a movie and I got to paint cabinets. I really do mean it was a great birthday.
I slept in because I was exhausted from the week. My big hot breakfast was a big bowl of 3-Minute Cream of Wheat. Tool shopping was agonizing over spending yet more money. We went to both of the (2) grocery stores in town to find a simple cake. It was raining when we were at the house. The movie was about World War II, inequality, bigotry and prejudice. The paint primer won’t dry on the cabinets since it so cold and now the paint is lumpy.
It was, in fact, a perfect birthday. I really do mean it. I was awakened to the sound of the thumping tail of a happy dog who wanted me to get up and play. When I arrived in the kitchen, my spouse immediately made a pot of fresh coffee. He asked if I wanted anything special since it was my birthday. I announced I wanted a big hot breakfast. Turning toward the stove, he said, “What would you like for breakfast?” I said, “I want a big bowl of cream of wheat.” He looked at me with consternation and said, “Do you want some eggs, too?” I burst out laughing. I had him. It was a joke I had planned while I was getting dressed. It worked. And I got my Cream of Wheat because it really was what I wanted.
After a laughter-filled breakfast, I did the next thing on my Birthday Wish List. I went to the computer to finish the agony of tool shopping, this time with help. I have been shopping for weeks and never could figure out which direction to take. Today we took some things off the list and put a few others on. I feel anxious about spending the money but I feel confident that we chose wisely.
One of the things that got put on the list was the jawstand. Before today I did not even know they existed. How in the world I, with my love of tools, not know something with such a titillating name as jawstand existed?
Here’s what I figure. I am not in the jawstand target market so I never found out about them. I am not their “demographic” so it would make no sense to market to me, a woman. Probably most men are not in their target market either. Nonetheless, it makes you think. It makes me think about our consumer-driven market that is driven by consuming what we are driven to consume. We could choose not to consume but what we do choose is often what we have seen cross our paths.
A number of years ago when I was working in public health research we did a social marketing campaign about reducing stigma toward people with disabilities. We received a donation of over one million dollars worth of television ad time. The time was divided so that our commercials would be shown in every time slot. We had a respected celebrity spokes person. The ad campaign went on for the better part of a year. We conducted a well designed pre- and post-viewing phone survey. The project was very successful in helping us understand social marketing for attitude change. One of the things we learned was frustrating though: people did not remember seeing the commercial. Whatever we had to say did not compete with what others had to say.
Our attention is requested in all directions. By our families, our friends, our jobs, and advertising. The advertising field is sophisticated and knows how to capture our attention. They also know that they won’t capture everyone’s attention with the same thing. I would not notice an ad about baby strollers but I would notice one advertising a new walker for aging in place. Both are metal with wheels but one focuses on a younger target market and the other on an older demographic.
And that is why I did not know about the Rockwell Jawstand. I was not in their target market. This image was not interesting to me. I flipped right past it.
This image, however, captured fully my attention. I have a lot of molding to put up and safety is really a big deal to me. The jawstand was brilliant. It was less struggle, faster, simple, and safer. I was hooked.
A year ago I would not have been in the target market for a Rockwell Jawstand. I was not thinking about molding and I was not a 60something guy in his garage cutting plywood. Rockwell did not change their ad campaign to bring me in as a customer, as a customer I changed to meet their ad campaign.
I would like to think that I did not change, that my needs changed. I did not need a safer, faster way to put up crown molding a year ago. Birthdays, though, even great ones, make us think. Did I change?
Hopefully. Hopefully, like the Rockwell Jawstand is to molding, I am better suited to my job as a human being. I would like to think that as I have aged I have learned. I know I finally learned to let some trivial things slide that I would have been overwrought about even a few years ago. When I say, “It really does not matter,” I really mean it. When I say I want a big, hot breakfast and mean I want a bowl of Cream of Wheat, I really mean it. My birthday was perfect. I got Cream of Wheat and a Jawstand. I really mean it.