Battlepanda: Beware of good advertising


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Beware of good advertising

Scott at the Dallas Food blog has written something great. A piece of blog-journalism that truly demonstrated the potential of blogs as a conduit for investigative reports and transcended the food blog genre.

I would have never thought I would read a ten-part expose of a hidiously expensive chocolate I have never heard of before, but I was instantly hooked. Whereas score of food reporters merely passed on the hype, Scott dug deeper and exposed the racket behind the world's most expensive chocolate. His presentation was flawless, both in illustrating his report with interesting pictures and in managing information flow so that I kept on clicking page after page. His report was also choc(k) full of fascinating background about the chocolate making process and jargon, all seamlessly intergrated into the piece. I now know what "couverture" means as well as the merits of Equadorian versus Venezualan chocolate.

Also, the story is satisfying in confirming your worst suspicions about hidiously expensive chi-chi products in pretty boxes.

This story has not only been linked by Boing Boing, but is also making the rounds at econ blogs Marginal Revolution and Economist View because it presents such an interesting example of the price decoupled with substance. Mark Thoma at the Economist's View, in particular, characterized the scandalously high prices charged by NoKa chocolates as a market failure. Well, if we count price anomalies caused by good advertising, branding and public relations as market failures, this really throws off the assumption that the market is essentially efficient. As the case of NoKa shows, we cannot assume perfect information, and that has serious consequences in real-world markets.

Bravo, Scott, bravo.