Are JMU students brand snobs?

What’s the real price we’re willing to pay?

Pepsi has recently said that their bottled water, Aquafina, is merely tap water. We often pay more for Starbucks brand coffee, rather than store-brand brewed at home, because we think it’s better. We buy name-brand things because we’re under the impression that they are a higher quality product, but are they really? Are we all just being fooled by the placebo effect?

Snapchat-8102211499199460625

Most people purchase bottled water and/or name-brand products because they think they are better.

People purchase bottled water, because they are under the impression that it tastes better than tap water from home. However, this recent statement made by Pepsi proves that this isn’t always the truth. If you thought Aquafina bottled water was better than water found in your sink or water fountain, Pepsi proved you wrong: they use that same exact water.

This new revelation begs the question, what other brands are fooling us? Is there really a difference in Folger’s, Maxwell House, and store-brand? Between Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks? Between Coke and Pepsi? Hershey and Nestlé? Will we ever be able to overcome the placebo effect? I asked JMU students what they thought!

Nick Branson, Senior, Music Industry

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 8.37.43 AM

Do you frequently choose products based on the brand?

Not really. I tend to shop for sales and as long as it’s something I can identify as a quality product, if it’s the right price, I’ll buy it. There are products I will be deterred from buying based on prior experience.

Do you feel like the more expensive brand, like Starbucks coffee as opposed to store-brand, is a better quality product or is it all in the marketing?

With that question specifically, I think it’s a better product, but in other cases it’s marketing. Like, shoes for example: I think there’s a lot of cornering the market and price gouging due to the brand. You can get basically the same shoes from Nike or Reebok, but there’ll be a markup on one.

Sarah Meirose, Senior, English

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 8.34.35 AM

Do you frequently choose products based on brand?

Absolutely, but only if it’s a brand I’ve used before or if my friends recommend it. Like when I buy mascara, for example: it’s always CoverGirl brand because that’s what has worked best for me over the years and my friends also have good results from those products.

Do you feel like the more expensive brand, like Starbucks coffee as opposed to store-brand, is a better quality product or is it all in the marketing?

I think it’s all in the marketing, honestly. Starbucks has a couple drinks I like, for example, their hot chocolate is pretty good, but I can just as easily make a great cup of hot chocolate from a store-brand packet at home. It’s like buying the same basic tank top from a designer at Nordstrom versus a designer at Target. You’re getting basically the same item, but Nordstrom’s will always be more expensive because of the designer. You’re buying the name more so than you’re buying the shirt, or the coffee, or the makeup.

Montana Calabrese, Junior, English

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 9.38.38 AM

Do you frequently choose products based on brand?

Not really, no. Brand-name doesn’t matter to me. If I like something, I’ll get it. I don’t really care about brands.

Do you feel like the more expensive brand, like Starbucks coffee as opposed to store-brand, is a better quality product or is it all in the marketing?

I do think for some things you’ll get better quality with more expensive brands, but I don’t think that’s true across the board.

Mike Dolzer, Sophomore, SMAD and WRTC

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 2.31.56 PM

Do you frequently choose products based on brand?

I do not, I usually go off of price.

Do you feel like the more expensive brand, like Starbucks coffee as opposed to store-brand, is a better quality product or is it all in the marketing?

I’m not a coffee drinker so I can’t speak to that example specifically, but I take the store brand version of my allergy medication, and I haven’t noticed a difference. I was also taught in my SMAD 150 class that the majority of the price of products is due to marketing. The difference in pricing is usually based off of the cost of ads or packaging, not the product itself.

Hannah Shaffer, Sophomore, Hospitality Management

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 3.17.12 PM

Do you frequently choose products based on brand?

It definitely depends but more so yes. For myself I’ve gotten better about the name brand not mattering as much but for cooking, especially for other people, I definitely still do.

Do you feel like the more expensive brand, like Starbucks coffee as opposed to store-brand, is a better quality product or is it all in the marketing?

I think it can be, but I think there are ways you can get it to the level of quality. For example, with a cheap box mix of cake mix, if you use milk instead of water, twice as much melted butter instead of oil, add an extra egg, and preheat the oven to 350 but reduce it to 325 and bake for 25 min, all instead of doing what’s on the box, you get bakery quality cupcakes.

More
James Madison University