Enter new product: the Grapple

7 Mar

I saw some Grapples in the grocery store the other day.  I’ve seen them many times before, but now I get to critique!

Thinking back to Lec 02 and accompanying readings, I’m not quite sure where along the spectrum of these marketing opportunities this one falls under:

  • offer modification
  • offer innovation
  • total innovation

One of the touted benefits for moms – they’re targeting the right people, here! – is the fully-retained nutritional value of the fruit.  Grapples are fun, tasty ways to get kids to eat their fruit.

An additional incentive: you can even order these online!

Branding the experience

7 Mar

Still on the topic of branding…

This also ties heavily into our discussion in Lec 02 about marketing an experience vs. a product.

What about places?  Places and spaces such as cities, districts, and even whole countries all have their own ‘feel’.  The prospective consumer is attracted by the experience as a whole – the ‘brand’ so to speak.

Florida is branded as the “Sunshine State” with beaches, dolphins, and palm trees.

Toronto is the capital of multiculturalism.

Paris in the spring is a lover’s lodestone.

Vegas is “Sin City”

Europe as a whole screams CULTURE.

Disney is the “Happiest Place on Earth”

What happens, then, when this branding goes amuck?  Here I’m thinking of places like the city of Walkerton who had to work very hard to build up their reputation as a quaint tourist destination after their water disaster in 2000.

As a further thought, some places also look to re-brand with a new experience.  I’ll update with some ideas on this theme.

Brand musings: pass the Kleenex!

7 Mar

Sometimes a brand is marketed so successfully that it become synonymous with the product itself.  Case in point: Kleenex.

This truth became readily apparent when Google image results for Kleenex turned up dozens of unidentified boxes of tissue, such as the one below:

Some other brands that fit this category:

Google = web search

Rice Krispies = popped rice cereal OR chewy squares made from these

Corn Flakes = flaked corn cereal

Ziplock bags = resealable bags

Vaseline = petroleum jelly

Chapstick = lip moisturizer

Speedo = fitted swim shorts

Sharpie = permanent marker

Q-tips = cotton swabs

Post-its = sticky notes

Jell-O = gelatin dessert

Play-Doh = children’s modeling clay

Band-Aids = adhesive bandages


And many, many drugs, for example:

Advil = ibuprofen

Tylenol = acetaminophen

Aspirin = acetylsalicylic acid


A bunch of these were taken from a great blog called Reflections of Pop Culture & Life’s Challenges.  Check out the post here for even more products!

This can only be a testament to amazing marketing that has earned consumer trust over time.

A Magical Book Launch

7 Mar

I was thinking about marketing and promotions outside the context of traditional ads, and trying to come up with some examples.  The idea of the successful book launch came to mind.  The Harry Potter series, for example, transcended its ‘book’ status and became a brand unto itself, generating an enormous cult following throughout the world.

  • Massive pre-ordering for the next book
  • People camped outside Chapters all night before the release
  • Camped people were dressed up like the characters

And the interesting thing is that this series touched multiple demographics: it was popular in many countries throughout the world, children and adults alike.  It brings Pixar to mind – a company that integrates all manner of things into their films to appeal to the widest possible demographic.

A Case of Branding: Rhinoplasty gone wrong

7 Mar

Jennifer Gray, most famous for her role as Baby in Dirty Dancing, made a huge career mistake in the the 1990s.

Her decision to go under the knife negatively affected her brand to the point that she lost her fame and celebrity status.

She quotes,

“I went in the operating room a celebrity – and came out anonymous.”

She even contemplated changing her name – a complete re-brand that would allow her to start her career all over.

As we discussed in Lec 06, companies and organizations have to be so careful to maintain a constent brand image that the public and consumer can readily associate with them. In Gray’s case, it was her unique facial features that made her famous.

Her recent involvement as a contestant in Dancing With the Stars has partly helped to recover her public image.

It certainly can be done, and companies have similarly accomplished this feat.  Think back to the days when Ford was synonymous with ‘junk on wheels’.  Now Ford proudly enjoys its status as a manufacturer of safe, reliable vehicles…with Mazda parts!

Swiss Chalet: The Winter Special

7 Mar

Creating seasonal new menu items

I was enjoying the thought of going out for dinner the other night, and had my Swiss Chalet order mentally prepared.  This lovely stand-up picture on the table caught my eye, and like magic, my order changed.

What better way to drum up business than to come up with new products!  In Swiss Chalet’s case, they’re still promoting their signature specialty – rotisserie chicken – but it’s dressed up to be seasonally appropriate.   That’s expanding your market opportunity: offer modification and innovation.  A bonus: it’s time-limited!  Hurry in and try it before it’s taken off the menu!  Hmmmm…pretty clever.

Jumblies Theatre – Like an Old Tale

7 Mar

Jumblies came to do a presentation today for a bunch of Arts Management students, talking about their current outreach projects and community work.

It was nice  – and gave us a good feeling for their brand – that our warm-up exercise had the flavour of the very projects they undertake in the community.

This organization is definitely audience-centered: their entire focus and reason for existence is to build community and bring people together, having them sharing stories, etc. through art.

The video below is a shows a tiny snapshot of Jumblies’ community work in 2010.