I'm on a little sojourn in the UK for three weeks enjoying Andy Murray play in the newly-roofed Wimbledon and visiting Austen-esque historic houses as well as catching up with the family. The first thing I've noticed since I last ventured in these woods (a year and a half ago) is the amount of sales promotion going on. They are really flogging it to death. And it's the good ole' 'Buy one, get one free' culprit. You can really tell the recession has hit hard. In the differentiated-pharmacy store Boots, nearly everything can be purchased for less, as part of some sort of offer. Wine is another story - you practically can't buy a bottle of vino for over 20 dollars in a chain store or supermarket, that doesn't come with two other bottles 'free'.
And now for my favourite part - the analogy:
Overused sales promotions become like drugs to customers. The effect slowly wears off and customers will be left wanting more, more, more to try to get the same result as the first hit. Eventually they won't be able to function without the drug - so they're going to be back at square one, but this time with a nasty habit to break. ;-)