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It’s all about the USP…

September 18, 2006


When companies market a product, they focus on the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – the one thing that makes that product different than any other. It’s the one reason they think consumers will buy the product even though it’s more than likely no different from others just like it. It may be that the product has a lower price or more convenient packaging, or it may taste or smell better, or last longer.

Or, in the case of Simon Cowell and his TV/music/too many fingers in too many pies company, it’s a boy with a stutter, a very fat girl, a mad ex-backing singer, an ex bin man, anyone that can tug on the heart strings of the middle classes… And on Saturday’s X Factor, Simon found this year’s USP. When Kerry from Glasgow (who uses a wheelchair) came into the audition room, you could almost see the dollar signs in Simon’s eyes. He (and the rest of the judges) then proceeded to patronise her, by telling her she had an amaaaaazzzzzing voice. It was an okay voice (and a very shrewd choice of song), but we’ve all heard better people get turned away this series.

It’s such a shame, because Kerry seems like a very intelligent woman, who could do without all this “oh, you’re in a wheelchair, that’s a ratings winner,” malarky. Simon should have just trotted out his usual, “Look, the voice isn’t great, but we can work on you,” schpiel, instead of treating her like she’s made of glass. But no, his media-driven overly-PC attitude made him look like a hypocritical arse licker (nothing new there then), unable to see past Kerry’s wheelchair (as he was so keen to refute afterwards). It made the whole process even more of a sham than it already is. Shame on you.

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