Morning Advantage: The High Cost of Hurricane Sandy

Experts are projecting that Hurricane Sandy will be a multi-billion-dollar disaster for the U.S. Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones reports that last year Irene caused $4.3 billion in losses — and that it was just one of 14 storms that cost at least a billion dollars. While those who are directly hit by these storms pay most dearly (especially in lives lost), they’re actually costly for everyone — no matter where you live. After Social Security, the National Flood Insurance Program is the second largest fiscal liability for the U.S. government. Amanda Stout, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, says that if we can’t figure out a way to stem the tide of climate change, the costs are going to keep getting worse — hitting our pocketbooks, and our planet, harder and harder.


The Reality Distortion Field Inside the Consumer’s Brain (Ars Technica)

How much do you really want to know about the products you’re purchasing? That depends on whether you’re a reflective person, or a less-reflective person. John Timmer reports that consumers are willing to pay more for a premium product, but only if the explanation for its premium qualities makes sense to them. Say you’re buying laundry detergent, and the descriptions range from “Contains natural enzymes" to "The detergent has enzymes. Grains made of alcalase and esperase protein molecules are dissolved in the detergent, thereby making clothes cleaner." Reflective people will pay extra if they get a detailed explanation, while less reflective people like the simple explanation best. It comes down to product fluency. If consumers understand your product, they’ll buy it. If they don’t, they won’t.


Sounds That Sell (Wall Street Journal)

A team at Clinique fiddled with about 40 prototypes of the container for its High Impact Extreme Volume mascara before settling on a mechanism that emits a soft, crisp click when the top is twisted shut, subtly conveying elegance, says the Wall Street Journal. The sounds produced by consumer products are increasingly important to marketers — and to consumers: Sharpie considers the "scritch-scratch" sound to be an important part of the experience of using its markers, and Frito-Lay’s sales fell when the company introduced a compostable chip bag that was noisy and annoyed customers. — Andy O’Connell


Boo-ming Holiday Business

Perfecting the Halloween Pop-Up (Inc.)
Retail Reversal: Target Unwraps Holiday Ads Early (AdAge)
Google Talks Holiday Shopping Trends Businesses Need to Be Aware Of (WebProNews)

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