Well, he doesn’t see it as a problem, but I say that the story from this NY Times op-ed piece by Stach Schiff, about the consumer so overwhelmed by choices in the toothpaste aisle that he wound up not buying any toothpaste, is yet another example of how marketing is a negative sum game.
If there was only one company selling toothpaste, then it might make sense for that company to sell six different types of toothpaste. But when there are six toothpaste companies, and each has six different types of toothpaste, then the consumer is faced with the unpleasant task of having to pick from 36 possible choices.
If one toothpaste company decided to go with only one type of toothpaste, it would surely suffer a loss of shelf space and a corresponding loss of sales. So every toothpaste company is forced to compete in the marketing game, to the overall detriment of the consumer who is faced with too many choices and higher prices for toothpaste. (Prices are higher because marketing costs are passed on to the consumer.)