Pretty Much Pokemon for old women. Longaberger makes about 1,000 new basket styles a year and guess who has to "collect them all"-- your mother! Your future inheritance is rapidly being converted into baskets as we speak.
You know how pop culture has driven into us a healthy fear of the large, soulless corporation to the point where we're all pretty sure they'd infect our children with lead poisoning and destroy the entire rainforrest to make a dime? Think this isn't the case, that's basically the plot of the Nintendo DS Pets: Dolphins game for god's sake.
Well, Longaberger is an example of a company that uses all the cliches to avoide that irrational fear. We hear at cracked present:
Longaberger: A Case Study for "The Friendly Company Cliches Checklist"
Cliche One: Made in the USA-- yep, their baskets are made in the USA. But the plastic liners, cloth liners, boxes, pottery, and some hardware for the baskets are made in the third world. In this way the baskets are a perfect analogy for the American economy, loudly and brashly American but held together by cheap foreign labor.
And Just Like This Pin, Our Economy is Slowing Being Surrounded and Suffocated.
Cliche Two: Headed by super cheerful company President- Tami Longaberger is a cheerful, bright, shining example of CEO. Imagine Vanna White in jeans and you've got the idea. This person is exactly the kind of person you want heading up a company that depends on the efforts of thousands of (mostly) housewives to peddle their goods. Seriously, if the Mafia had an independent, strong but classy woman heading them up they'd be the most respected industry in America.
Seriously, If She Had Been Governor of an Unimportant State She'd Make a Great Vice President of the United States.
Cliche Three: A Corporate Headquarters That Does Things Differently-- You know how Apple thinks of itself as thinking outside the box and used to fly a pirate flag out front? Well The fine folks at Longaberger built their headquarters to look like one of their baskets. Insert basket-case joke here. Oh, and eat that, Apple. Longaberger spent millions to showcase how committed to their cause that they are and you spent $14.95 on a nylon pirate flag (or $3 at a carnival booth to win a prize from the top row).
"I Swear to God If One More Jerk in the Mailroom Makes A 'We're Going To Hell in A Handbasket' Joke, I'm Gonna Go Postal!"
Cliche Four: Bastardize Your Product To Make It Appeal To Niche Markets, uhm, We Mean "The Something For Everyone" Approach--Apparently men are idiots. If we can't see the use of a product and would never buy it in a million years, then all it takes to change our mind is to somehow tie it into something we actually like... such as football. Longaberger baskets (or as your brother calls them "those gay-ass baskets mom keeps buying") has even tried to man-up their baskets by making football baskets. Seriously... oh, and they're too small to keep anything in except maybe your pocket change. Of course you won't have any pocket change because this 5 inch basket cost $40 WITHOUT THE FOOTBALL SHAPED LID. Not to mention the liner and such.
"You Know, Ray Lewis Has Four of These Sitting On His Dresser. One's For Earrings, One's For Neck Bling, One Holds His Wallet, and One Holds His Incriminating Shell Casings."
Cliche Five: Buy from someone you know!-- Yeah, why sell your products through trained professional salespeople when you can instead sucker in some lonely housewives to guilt their relatives into buying your overpriced baskets.
Your Crazy Aunt Is Now Selling Longaberger. Guess Who's About To Get Reminded of How She Let Them Live With Her That Month During High School After They Were Busted By Their Parents For Smoking Dope? That Basket Will Cost You $125.
Let's face it. Everything is sold based on the product putting a perfect image into your head of what your life will be like if you used that product. This is sometimes called "The Light-Beer Commercial Syndrome." Well, Longaberger does the same thing.
Just imagine all the uses of baskets.
So if you don't live on an orchard or something like that you've come up with one use: to put stuff in it. Yep, that's pretty much what we have here. So how do you spice up the image of something you basically just use as a crap-holder?
It's a multi-billion dollar industry, you know. So here's what is promised if you buy a shitload of Longaberger baskets:
And Here's What You'll Really Wind Up With: