Greg Adams: Coming out of the Tupperware closet

Greg Adams: Coming out of the Tupperware closet

There’s something I have to confess and I know it’s better to get it out in the open now, rather than run the risk of a media feeding frenzy should I ever decide to run for public office.

I … er … I … you see the thing is … er … okay here goes [deep breath and all that] … I have been to a Tupperware party.

There, I’ve said it. Now, I know it probably comes as a shock and I’m sure a big let down to loyal fans of Hearing Voices. Nevertheless, I hope that you can forgive this penchant for plastic, a minor aberration that was a one-time only thing I assure you – and if not, well, what I do in private and with other consenting Tupperwarers is my own business.

I was reminded of my little indiscretion when checking out SKY TV’s new Documentary Channel that started with a bang this month, covering such tantalising topics as hairy women, toy boys, penises, transvestites, pageant queens, petnapping, Indian jails, the Kennedys, and, of course, my beloved Tupperware!

Sadly, not a great deal to tempt the tech buff. The forebodingly-titled Radiophobia being the exception, at a push.

Anyway, back to Tupperware.

Tupperware is a world-renowned brand of plasticware named after its inventor Earl Tupper. I bought a rather snazzy green thing for my beetroot. It has an internal rack that lifts the beets out of the liquid. Cunning, huh. And I’m not alone in being seduced. I’ll bet you’ve all got some in the kitchen at home. In fact, among the programme’s more interesting, bone-chilling or coma-inducing stats (take your pick) was that a Tupperware party takes place somewhere in the world every 2.5 seconds! That’s 1400 an hour or 34,560 a day or 12,614,400 a year – which all adds up to a hell of a lot of plastic boxes with resealable lids.

So why am I telling you all this? Simple. The real success of the product isn’t the material or even the design but in the method used to market and sell the stuff – the channel.

Enter Brownie Wise, a divorced mother and marketing genius, who met Earl Tupper in 1951.

Wise's strategy was to sell Tupperware woman-to-woman, (I guess men have since jumped on for the ride), with the promise of independence, fun and an income thrown in for good measure. The system has been copied by some, but can you imagine something similar for IT?

Could like-minded technology enthusiasts have gatherings where the latest mobiles or MP3 players or memory sticks could be discussed over some chips and cheese dip? Goods could be demonstrated and tried out over coffee and Mallow Puffs. A PowerPoint presentation followed by an informal Q&A (with prizes) could be part of the entertainment. And suppose you spend more than $50, you could get some free, blank DVDs.

The groups could be technology or company or even environment-specific – for example, in catering for games players, they could meet in a darkened, warm, sweaty room to make them feel at home as they try out the latest shoot ‘em ups and adventures.

I wonder …

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