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Brand Demand: The Destruction of Tigers for Tiger Bone Wine
By: Emory Brown
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"Supply and demand" has always seemed to be a simple economic theory. A certain market required a product and a manufacturer made it. Simple, sweet, to the point, and easy to carry out from a business standpoint as it relates to creating commerce. Unfortunately, we have two types of markets in the world. One is the market we all function in day-to-day, which consists of retailers and buyers. The other market is the "black market"; a market that is filled with products and services that are, in most cases, sold by unsavory characters. In this brand story, the product that is being sold at one of the highest prices is Tiger Bone Wine. Yet it is not the price tag that is on the product that makes it so expensive; it's the fact that wild tigers are being hunted to the point of extinction for the pure taste of this wine.

With any product, there has to be benefits. Tiger Bone Wine has been used for centuries by Chinese doctors and martial artists. It reportedly creates the following health benefits: strengthens bones and tendons, nourishes blood, alleviates pain and swelling, disperses painful obstructions, relieves colds, unblocks channels and vessels, and other health-related cures. However, the number of tigers is dwindling at an enormous rate. Tiger Bone Wine producers are normally poachers, merchants, or caretakers at Chinese Animal Parks, where the tigers are raised. One hundred and eighty six dollars can get you one bottle of Tiger Bone Wine and you can buy a gift pack of two bottles for 286 American bucks at some Chinese Animal Parks, which since 2008 have undergone serious scrutiny by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). However, because the demand for the wine is so high, even some police officers don’t enforce regulations to keep the selling of this illegal substance under control.

As of 2011, China has a population of 1,344,130,000 and growing. The population of tigers in the wild has dropped by 98.6% in the last 20 years. Last estimates stated that there are only about 3,200 tigers in the wild worldwide. India has 1,706 of those wild tigers living in their country due to the ongoing efforts of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Being that there are herbal substitutes for the benefits of Tiger Bone Wine…why is the demand so high? Why are consumers choosing to have tigers over herbal supplements? Is it tradition? Is it a rebellion against international authority? Is it a lack of information that clearly defines the state of tigers in the wild?

Is brand demand more important than saving an endangered species? There is a saying that goes “Give the people what they want.” However, sometimes you have to give the people what they need, no matter where you are selling and what they are demanding. In this case it’s another brand of wine. A little Sangria and vitamins could be just what the doctor ordered.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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