Product Differentiation in Politics

  • Kenneth Hudson


A much-favoured technique employed in marketing certain kinds of manufactured goods — detergents and petrol are good examples — is to discover minute, and sometimes imaginary differences between one’s own product and those of one’s rivals and then to exaggerate and emphasise these differences. This makes Product A distinct, in the public mind, from Product B and, given promotional skill, more desirable. The process is known as product differentiation and it is, to put the matter bluntly, a swindle. Marketing men will say with great conviction, however, that without making use of product differentiation they could hardly sell anything. They would have no tools with which to work. Petrols, instant coffee, cigarettes, washing powders and even cars are so much of a muchness that the public has no logical reason for buying one rather than another. The marketing skill lies in making them seem different.


Product Differentiation Trade Union Labour Party Television Producer Instant Coffee 
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  1. 1.
    Christopher Johnson, ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee’, The Listener, 3oth September, 1976.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Stanley Kelly, Jr. Professional Public Relations and Political Power Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1956, p. 50.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    On this, see Jay G. Blumler and Denis McQuail, Television in Politics: its Uses and Influences, Faber, 1969.Google Scholar
  4. and Krishnan Kumar, ‘The Political Consequences of Television’, The Listener, 3rd July, 1969.Google Scholar

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© Kenneth Hudson 1978

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  • Kenneth Hudson

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