It's 2009. You're an American-owned packaged food company, but all is not well Down Under. By accident of acquisition you happen to own an iconic Australian brand which in recent years has seen its popularity wane, especially among migrants (euphemistically, ‘New Australians’).
Vegemite is very much an acquired taste; strong and salty. Those of us who love it tend to have either been indoctrinated as children or convinced by friends or family to work through the initial ‘what the hell is THAT?’ reaction.
After some research you come up with a new product that you believe is friendlier to the unfamiliar palate. You hope that this product will bring you new customers, and maybe even act as a gateway to lure people to try the original flavour. So how do you get people to notice?
Some publicity is a given. Any update on a product that is in some ways synonymous with Australia will make it into the nightly news bulletin and the daily paper. If you grease the right palms you might even get a longer segment on a week-night current affairs show. But you're ambitious. Can you make your product launch occupy not one tiny corner of one news cycle, but a whole week of headlines? What about a month of them?
Well, this week we found out.
- Hold a competition to name your new product. That will get you on the news on release day, then a few mentions throughout the competition.
- When the competition ends, choose the worst name possible
- For extra points, pick a name that will be annoy people on the Internet, because ‘people on Twitter are upset’ is a flavour-of-the-month story
- For extra extra points, play on nationalistic outrage by announcing your new name for that most Australian of products during the Australian Rules Football grand final
- Once you've wrung as much attention as you can out of the “naming debacle”, apologise profusely for your “mistake” and announce a new competition to pick the real name from a pool of obvious candidates.
- Finally, announce the new name
‘iSnack 2.0’ was so obviously a name for the week, not a name for the ages. What I find most amusing is that the current generation of consumers are, at least if you ask them, so much more cynical of marketing ploys. We're more clued in to how the media works and the Internet has taught us to mistrust authority and question everything we read.
Yeah, right. Someone in Kraft marketing is on track for a pretty big bonus this year.