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Base of the Pyramid Spoofed by The Onion
Robert Katz, 23 Jan 07
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How do you know when a person, idea, or trend has truly arrived? When it gets spoofed by The Onion. In today's edition of the well-read parody and satire magazine, the lead article is entitled Chanel Develops Durable, Low-Cost Perfume For Third World. This is an obvious stab at the "base of the pyramid" - a growing consensus that multinational corporations and small entrepreneurs alike should re-orient their strategy to include low-income consumers and producers. The article is clearly spoofing C.K. Prahalad, a leading base of the pyramid (BOP) strategist. In his best-selling book, Prahalad describes how Hindustan Lever markets face cream to low-income consumers in India. This example has come under attack from many in the development community who see it as exploitative.

Regardless of where you stand on the BOP theory, it's hard not to laugh at The Onion's take. A short excerpt:

As for 3rd's scent, Chanel wanted something "clean, youthful, and beguiling," said Chanel chemist Robert Geneau, adding that organically musky, smoky, and earthy tones had been rejected because the scent's intended users most likely had too much musk, earth, and smoke in their lives already. "3rd has a bright, grassy base, like a fresh breeze after a rain—a very exotic scent for our target customer. There are also notes of cocoa, citrus, spices, and other things our customer sometimes raises and harvests for foreign export, but rarely gets to savor herself. Captivating, and for a fraction of the cost of high-end scents available in the West, 3rd is just the economic miracle developing nations need."

(Hat tip to Earthtrends' Amy Cassara)

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