trash talking yourself

Marketing has always been about promoting something so that people will buy it.

So it’s always interesting to see campaigns where a company is encouraging customers not to use their own product. Probably the most (in)famous example is the tobacco industry funded anti-smoking campaign. I’ve also always liked how McCormick tells people to throw their old spices away. (albeit to buy fresh ones)

But lately, I’ve been impressed with Microsoft’s campaign to get people to stop using the Internet Explorer 6 web browser.

IE6 has lots of problems that I won’t get into here, but Microsoft has launched a campaign to get people to stop using the program. There’s a consumer-side campaign centered around the website, IE6countdown.com, as well as developer-side messaging like this…

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It’s an interesting thought experiment for your own business. If you had to launch a campaign today that encouraged people NOT to use your product, what would be the negative aspects you would center the campaign around?

After you figure that out, why not go ahead and fix those things now?

Slam Dunk

It’s always interesting to know how consumers actually use your product. The more you know about the use, the better you can market it.

A great example is when Avon found out people were using Skin-So-Soft as an insect repellent. They changed the marketing to match how the consumers were using it.

Nabisco has announced that the shape of Oreos will change for 6 weeks this summer. They will become oblong “Oreo Dunkers” with messages written on them like “Dunk Me” and “Milk’s Favorite Cookie”. The dunkers will also have lines showing levels of “dry,” “soaked,” and “soggy.”

Apart from my questions of why Oreos would pull such a really bad branding move….My big question is: Who actually eats Oreos this way? I’ve never dunked a cookie…and I’ve never seen anyone in real life eat an Oreo this way. Maybe I’m just sheltered and out of the mainstream (wouldn’t be the 1st time).

But I think it’s something else. Nearly every Oreo ad has someone dunking the cookie in a glass of milk. I think Oreo dunking is a public lie, something that everyone believes, but still isn’t true. And maybe Nabisco has fallen prey to its own ad message.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Do you dunk?

Update: Apparently, I was wrong. The comments on this post reflect a bunch of dunkers.

However, from the larger P.O.V. of brand strategy…I still think it’s risky to change one of the Oreo brand hallmarks (the shape) for a stunt.

Hard to Dance with Fruit on Your Head

I was perusing the Sunday coupons and saw that Chiquita has launched a brand extension called Fruit Bites….cut apples in bags that the kiddies can take to school.

Questions…
1) Apples are pretty portable in the natural state…why is this product needed?
2) What happens to apples when you cut them?…How many preservatives will they throw to the natural apple to keep it from turning brown?
3) Why do companies brand extend themselves to death?
4) Why will consumers grab onto this?

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