What is Artificial Obsolescence?

By on December 2, 2011

It is a marketing and product strategy to make consumers buy more of a brand or product by regularly launching the next generation of the earlier product, thus making it obsolete. Why let competitors make us obsolete, such marketers argue (rightly so), why not we ourselves make us obsolete? And so the existing product is made unfashionable by replacing it with a better looking and/or more feature packed next generation product.

Gillette uses this strategy brilliantly to remain number one in the safety razor industry. So every few years there will be a higher version Gillette Mach available in the market, and Gillette will proudly ask it’s customers to switch to the newer.

Apple also use this strategy brilliantly. So even though iPhone 3 was all that you wanted, Apple comes up with iPhone 4S and now we want to buy the latest iPhone to use features we never thought we needed.

Artificial obsolescence requires preempting the competition and market, and thus, a great amount of vision and courage and allows the marketer to charge a premium which competitors can’t. It can be mainly seen in the marketing of gadgets, IT products, cars, insurance, fashion, food and toys.

Here is an example

Gillette Evolution

And a joke

Alas, Jobs is no more to make this happen! May God rest his soul in peace.


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