CVS Pharmacy – Brand marketing gone awry

23 Dec 2009|Leigh Marinner

Cheskin AV has spent a lot of time thinking about how to help clients create meaningful experiences for their customers. Meaningful experiences range from economic experiences through functional experiences and emotional experiences up to the highest level of meaningful experiences, such as wisdom. The most powerful brands offer higher-level experiences that people seek to make their lives meaningful.

CVS recently bought Long’s Drugs in my area. Long’s offered an acceptable functional and economic experience – I could get the job done. It wasn’t a meaningful experience, such as patronizing Elephant Pharmacy might have been if I were heavily into expanding the role of natural cures, but it was OK. Now CVS has managed to actually deliver a negative emotional experience, making me regret every time I shop there.

How did they do it? By printing out miles of coupons with every cash register tape, most of which expire within a couple weeks. CVS has managed to introduce a sense of anxiety into the simple process of shopping at a drug store. Do I need to read all these coupons? Will I remember to carry them with me? Did I miss another expiration date? Now every time I shop I feel like I am wasting money, instead of saving it. This is brand marketing gone awry.

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