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Atkins Diet

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With the Americans being increasingly conscious of their weight, and their reluctance to exercise, they turn their attention to diet plans which were less costly than programs offered by slimming centers. Dr Atkins stepped up in 1992 to offer his low-carb theory once again despite his failures for the past 20 years, not to mention the fact that many had tried introducing this theory which contradicts the traditional low-calories weight loss diet plan.

Tapping on his experience as salesman and resort entertainer, he proved himself a natural at self-promotion. The book surfaced, backed by aggressive marketing campaign and became the best fast-selling book.

2.2 Consumers and Their Behaviors

The answer to how consumers respond to various marketing efforts the company might use lies in the stimulus response model of buyer behavior as shown in Figure 2.1. The figure shows that marketing and other stimuli enter the consumer's "black box" and produce certain responses. For effective marketing, marketers must figure out what is in the buyer's black box. The stimuli consist of the four Ps as shown: product, price, place and promotion. Other stimuli include major forces and events in the buyer's environment: economic, technological, political and cultural. All these inputs enter the buyer's black box, where they are turned into a set of observable buyer responses: product choice, brand choice, dealer choice, purchase choice and purchase amount.

To understand how the stimuli are changed into responses inside the consumer's black box, marketers must first know how the buyer's characteristics influence his or her perception and reaction to the stimuli (as shown in Figure 2.2). Next, they must identify buyer characteristics as they affect buying behavior and then eventually, discuss the buyer decision process.

2.3 Factors Influencing Consumers' Choices

Consumer purchases are influenced strongly by factors marketers cannot control, but at the same time, they must take them into account when planning for marketing campaign.

Culture is the most basic cause of a person's wants and behavior, where the latter is largely learned. Every group or society has a culture, and cultural influences on buying behavior may vary greatly from country to country. Marketers are always trying to spot cultural shifts to launch new products that might be wanted. As in Atkins' case, the cultural shift toward greater concern about health and fitness has created a huge industry for health and fitness services, exercise equipment and clothing, more-natural foods and a variety of diets. Of this, Atkins seized this opportunity and pushed its revolutionary idea to the consumers.

Lifestyle is the influencing factor that relates to the way we live through the activities we engage in and interests we express. In simple terms, it is what we value out of life. It is often determined by how we spend our time and money. Products and services are purchased to support consumers' lifestyles. Atkins was successful as Americans lead a sedentary life, explaining their reluctance to exercise. Hence, the emergence of Atkins, along with the ability to consume high protein food such as poultry and seafood coupled with the traditional light and awfully tasteless diets attracted many to follow the regime.

Perceptions are influenced by several factors. Exposure involves the extent to which we encounter a stimulus. In this case, we are frequently exposed to 'shed some weight' messages and pictures bearing rail-thin humans. As such, we create an image in our mind that the norm is to be slim and thin. If we fail to comply by that, we will have to go on diet to reach that goal.

Attitude refers to what a person feels or believes about something. Additionally, attitude may be reflected in how an individual acts based on his or her beliefs. As mentioned in the previous point on perception, beliefs and perceptions are closely related. Hence, Americans already have it nailed into their mind that losing weight is the right thing, which explains for the frequency of anorexia and bulimia cases.

2.4 The Fall of Atkins

When Dr Atkins died in 2003, his nutritional plan suffered rumors and allegations as he himself was overweight and diagnosed with cardiac problems.



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