In a nutshell ..
What’s worth knowing in Food Marketing this week.
Today’s Food Marketing Weekly pulls the curtain back from Coke’s dubious nutrition gambit, finds out how “cute” made Dempster’s tortilla campaign so successful, how Costco dropped the food safety ball, three new food apps, cologne that smells like BK’s Whopper, a 3D printer that makes pancakes, and kudos for Cheerios’s #HowToDad campaign for going to Cannes.
Mini-cans and mini-truths made it easy to pull back the curtain
Coke really stepped in it this week.
The company decided to market its mini-cans with a campaign using nutrition writers and dietary experts — who were possibly, some say obviously, paid — to deliver the ultimate message that a mini-Coke is a nutritionally sound snack.
The selling of the idea was spread by so-called health bloggers. One of them recommended that a mini-coke plus “packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts” can constitute a meal. Anyone can see that’s a dangerous stretch.
I can see this being the case for undergrads cramming for exams, or twenty-somethings rushing to go out, with nothing else in the fridge, and likely to eat the almonds AND the desserts, AND probably more than a single pre-portioned dessert. Or maybe a Red Bull.
Despite taking fire for its supposed role in obesity in North America, Coke should be allowed to market itself the best way it knows how, and mini-cans have value as reduced-portioned products. But they’ve made the mistake of underestimating the market’s intelligence. No one believes this feeble nutritional advice. It makes no sense.
It makes me wonder why Coke can’t develop a properly healthy power bar to eat with that mini-Coke for a real snack. How hard would it be for this company to do something truly tangible to mitigate its anti-nutrition footprint?
On whether the “experts” were paid or wrote their pro-mini-Coke nutritional promises on their own steam, the company has to recognize that this is the age of transparency. We can see what you’re trying to do, and it’s pretty shabby.
One dietitian who wrote about this new snack idea said she can’t recall if she was paid for her article mentioning mini-cans, which is galling. How can you not know if you’ve been paid for your work?
For a behemoth like Coke, this misstep might be little more than a blip. For food marketing generally, there’s a stiff price to pay for discounting the consumer’s intelligence. Brand credibility is a tenuous thing. Mess with it, and you’ve messed with the bottom line.
Image via Associated Press
Quick & Noteworthy
The return of Dempster’s “hug your food” tortillas
The super-cute spots are back for another year. Why?
“The campaign was a huge hit .. earned “over two million views, drove sales and had a ‘historically low’ cost-per-view,” said Brian Murray, group creative director at Cundari, to StrategyOnLine.
What’s striking about this spot is that it looks more like it was destined to win over kids more so than busy mothers looking for fast, healthy kid-friendly dinners. Which makes it a win-win.
Slapdash food safety cost Costco its fish license
The giant retailer got caught skipping steps in its food safety management system, the third side-stepping of protocol in three years. Globe and Mail
Food safety is a core integrity issue, and a brand sustainability issue. Falling down on food safety produces the kind of damage that’s tough to repair. It’s going to lead customers to wonder, what other food safety shortcuts are going unnoticed? Cutting corners in food safety can be fatal, and not just for your company.
App Patrol: three new ones this week
- Yellow Pages launches new mobile food and dining app Yahoo
- “Google of Local Food” app from Barrie ON HQ Canadian Grocer
- New 7 Eleven app facilitates the company’s first ever royalty plan Marketing
Why do we want Burger King Whopper-scented cologne?
Pancake Bot, a 3D food printer, not the first. Obama by batter.
Special mention: Dads Can Cannes
A cool, idolized view of what and who Dads are and can be — in the name of peanut butter Cheerios, only sometimes with tongue in cheek — is going to Cannes, up for a Lion award. #HowToDad StrategyOnLine
See you next week.