CabbagePatch

For those who weren’t around for the great Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the 1980s, it’s hard to convey the intensity of it. There were fistfights between parents, near riots outside stores and endless shrieks of hysterical children desperate to get their hands on the dolls. 

In Australia, at Toys R’ Us, these dolls still retail for $120. However, one without its official adoption papers is hugely marked down to as low as $50 because of missing so called “adoption papers.” That 60% extra margin is the power of marketing.
The creator of the Cabbage Patch doll doesn’t just make a doll, he creates a story that surrounds it. Cabbage Patch Kids are ‘born” at Babyland General Hospital, where women are dressed as nurses, an adoption oath and papers is administered for each and every Cabbage Patch Doll. Each with a name, a unique look and adoption papers owners of these lifelike dolls.

A recent Huffington Post article pinpointed how brand use storytelling and emotional connections to stand out, to not become so commoditised there is no brand loyalty.

Because when there is commoditisation, products and services are compared on rational terms alone - price, performance, quantity - and the lowest cost manufacturer wins.

According to Huffington Post, to stay away from the cycle of commodotisation means “we need to keep people acting irrationally, much like they act when they are in love. The ingredients of this love are mystery, sensuality and intimacy - and in building and curating the relationships people have with our brands we must always think about how we are sustaining mystery, appealing to each of the senses, and getting intimately close and personal.”

After all, where there is mystery, there is margin.

cabbage patch 1

Cabbage Path Craze 1983 - Image Source Bloomberg