People Eating Advertising?

There is a well-written and entertaining article on Grape Nuts in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. It included a fantastic quote from Carin Gendell, senior brand manager for Grape Nuts in the ’80s. “Grape Nuts,” she says, “was people eating advertising.”. The same could be said of many, many foods today.

I have personally had discussions with more than one processed food company where they are viewing advertising as a raw material input to their finished product – much in the same way as grain, corn syrup or cardboard for that matter. While it’s not necessarily appetizing, it’s undeniably true and brings up an interesting point. Effective advertising has become as important an ingredient in many products as the raw materials from which the actual product itself is made. It’s important to note that Carin says “was” and not “is,” because Grape Nuts has lost share dramatically since those heydays – another important reminder of what can happen to a brand if it loses touch with its customers.

I am actually a big Grape Nuts fan – I happen to like “the rhythmic crunching that reverberates around your skull” – so I hope the current $5M campaign moves the needle.

Go Humans Go!

I LOVE this campaign.  Exactly what folks need to hear right now.  How can you not feel good seeing that beatific Quaker?  He wants you to tune out the panic, eat a good, healthy breakfast and go be part of the solution.  He knows you can do it and he’s got your back.  Great concept, great creative.  What’s the CPA on all that outdoor they bought?   I don’t know, but I have had Quaker Oatmeal 3 times in the last 5 days  – and I don’t even eat breakfast.  I like mine with raisins and brown sugar.

Inspiration from Detroit

There was a great article in Ad Age today about Ford focusing on the top of the funnel to gain share in the current market and improve their long-term competitive position.  Ford and other forward-thinking marketers realize today’s market conditions are temporary, but their brands are long-term assets.  Maintaining proper balance throughout the purchase funnel even during this critical, challenging time can build significant equity in a brand as competitors over-focus on the bottom of the funnel.  As Ford has shown, increasing brand equity can yield measurable benefits now even while positioning a brand to accelerate into the inevitable recovery.

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