Okay, I was VERY skeptical when I was forwarded information about a portable solar charger found in a magazine. As a tech guy, I’ve bought and used several solar chargers over the years. I’ve found even the expensive models, at the time, to be junk – and I’d still love to be proven wrong. These were the type of units that you plan to use for years to charge electronics on trips. I thought the ad was for a solar charger but my expectations of what the ad contained (and the purpose of the ad) were wrong.
I shut up, watched the video about the advertisement (seen above), and realized that even if the cell in the ad works 1 time for the reader of the magazine it has fulfilled its task. The cell on the back cover of the magazine is a novelty charger for readers of the magazine to charge their cell phones while at the beach. You can watch the video for a much better explanation.
At first I didn’t know what to think. Was this a good idea? What were the costs? I had many other questions, too. So, I started by asking myself: “Did the ad work?”
Assuming the purpose of the ad was to generate attention and positively influence the company’s brand, I believe it did just that. Obviously Nivea was okay with accepting the cost associated with having solar chargers given away with each magazine – that was their choice, and customers received a free gift. (Most consumers are quite happy getting almost anything for free.) As far as negative impacts, it would be pretty hard to argue there are many. The chargers don’t have to be one time use – customers can simply rip off the back cover and use the cell for as long as it lasts. As long as they keep the charger, they are also keeping at least part of the company’s advertisement. Also, the print company may sell more copies, which is good for their sales figures.
So what other effects are there? I looked towards the solar industry next. How does this impact the perception or future adoption of solar energy? Hopefully this solar charger is popular enough to get into quite a few readers hands. Not many people have hands-on experience with alternative energy, other than using what is piped into the grid. Hopefully this is a positive first experience for some people, to get them thinking about how interesting it is to have portable power – completely independent of the traditional energy system.