Thursday, January 12, 2012

Violins old and new.

According to this report in Discover, the claim that old violins (such as the ones crafted by Stradivari) sound better than new ones is just a myth. When a research team asked a group of professional violinists to test out Stradivarius violins and new ones (without being told which of the violins was the Stradivarius’) they couldn’t make out the difference. Scroll down to the comments section of that article and you'll find an admission by one of the professionals who took part in the experiment.

When a Bengali swears that rosogollas of K.C.Das are the best in the world and unmatched in taste, consistency and flavor, test him out. Blindfold him, give him 10 rosogollas made at different outlets and ask him to identify the one made at K.C.Das. Chances are he will not be able to. Similar will be the result when you test people with expensive and cheap wines.

That’s where the power of the brand comes in. For you to appreciate the superiority of a Stradivarius violin, you should know beforehand that it is a Stradivarius violin. That “brand conditioning” is required to make it stand out from a crowd of generic violins.

Just think. If we can liberate ourselves from this conditioning, we could save hell of a lot of money. Do I really need the Gillette razor that costs 4-5 times as much as a ‘lesser’ brand? Would I know the difference between the two in a double-blind test? Do I have to stick to Color-Plus trousers that cost a fortune? For what purpose? Am I really more comfortable in them, or do I just feel so?

Of course, brand managers will tell you that a brand gives you that feeling of security, the assurance of quality, the comfort of familiarity, etc. All that hype is part of the conditioning. The poor fellows have to earn their salaries to be able to pay for stuff that they themselves are being conditioned to buy.


Shruthi said...

Just saw this TED video
Deals with the same thing you talk about in this post.

Shruthi said...

Just remembered that you'd quoted Paul Bloom before in a post.

Raj said...

Shruthi: You are right. Had quoted his experiment with the CEO of Perrier.