Monday, September 19, 2011

The goodwill Project

A few weeks ago, I started contemplating the social elements involved in making retail purchases after I was a bystander in a small incident at Pusateri’s (Yorkville location), a high-end food retailer in Toronto. Through a discussion with another CABA 3rd year, Iva Jericevic, I started to think that one of the most contrasting elements between rich and poor was the act of shopping. So, I started to write about adapting the purchasing model for lower-class targeting companies such as Value Village and Goodwill.

I uploaded it to Height Marketing’s blog. Height Marketing is my small student-founded agency. We believe that creativity is like a classroom; in order to create brilliant creative for a company, you have to have the most passionate creatives: students. As students, we are always learning about how to go further for our clients.

Jesse Hornstein-Goldberg is a third year Creative Advertising student at Humber College.  


The spectrum between rich and poor is a thin line as thick as steel. We are all equal yet money dictates how we treat each other and how we ultimately live our lives.

A few days ago, my girlfriend and I went to Pusateri’s, a high-end food retailer in Toronto. We went to look, and laugh at the way some people choose to spend their money (an example: a 1L jar of maple syrup retails at Costco for $13 and at Pusateri’s for $31). As we started talking to an employer, two men walked by, interrupting me to complain about at homeless man outside begging the shoppers for money. They seemed all too distraught about the situation; as if two men with what looked to be money and success should bother to care about a homeless man trying to survive. I then started thinking about how these two vastly different people differ, and which habits are so uniquely opposite between rich and poor. At the top of this list is “shopping”.

How do people make their purchases and where do they do it? Rich men and women purchase their products at stores that go above and beyond only sales to ensure the patron walks out with the intention of walking back in. Therefore, the product, price and packaging must all suit the lifestyle of the buyer. Oppositely, bargain shops such as Goodwill and Value Village couldn’t care less about the clothes they sell or the brand they emit; they are focused on selling to people who can’t afford better stores and the luxury to choose. This is what ultimately separates people between rich and poor; well dressed and poorly dressed; confident and self-conscious, superior and inferior.

So I decided that an interesting experiment would be to change one step in the purchasing model for the less affluent. After discussing the idea with Iva Jericevic, we thought that we could conceivably change the packaging for these bargain shops to make buyers feel a bit more confident when they walk out of the store. This would not be a marketing scheme to gain customers (generally if you shop at Value Village or Goodwill, you have been shopping there for a while and plan on going back), this would only be for treating the less affluent like the affluent; adding a bit more respect in the buying process that continues after they leave the store. So, I started working on changing the packaging for Value Village and Goodwill to resemble high-end retailer packaging, and these are the kinds of ideas I came up with.

Obviously, I spent little time working on the logo because that is secondary, the primary concern was changing the physical appearance of the bags (Goodwill and Value Village put their products in regular plastic bags).

It may be interesting to see if this actually changes attitudes. Will this small change change the way people of a less affluent nature go about their day? Might it make them feel more confident or superior? This is more of a psychology experiment as we all know appearance and blemish are the sole reasons companies can get away with selling so many varieties of the same product (without competition etc… why would we need thousands of different t-shirt types?) and the way we get across our status is by the places we shop at.

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