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It's not hip to be square


Friday, 10 February 2012 by

I know this is a few years old, but I only just came across it and the idea behind it is as relevant as ever. So I thought it was too good not to share. Shreddies aren't a cereal most Australians are familiar with, but it is a great example that shows that the intangible is now becoming even more important than the tangible!

Shreddies for those of you don't know are a cereal made from shredded wheat, made into a lattice pattern as shown below.
In 2008 their maker Kraft, decided that they wanted to totally change their product as sales had been on the decline for a number of years. The key there is that they wanted to change the product i.e. the tangible good. They jumped to this because that's what marketers have done for the past 100 years. They have made average products, for average people and then put these on mass media channels where advertisers would come up with meaningful prose about the product in order to convince everyone to buy it. So, naturally if there is a decline in sales even with varied (even if slight) campaigns, then it must be the fault of the product. BUT we live in a time poor world where people don't want to be interrupted unless it is by something truly remarkable. So, when Kraft went to Ogilvy&Mather and said we want to change our product a young intern who was given the account said "no, no, no". What this intern wanted to do was to change the intangible perception of the product. Therefore making it cheaper than redevelopment of a new product and much more remarkable, because only the most cutting edge brands were doing it!

The result? 
Yep..really. That happened! Pure, raw, simplistic marketing genius!
He rotated the Square-shaped Shreddie by 45 degrees, turning it into a diamond rather than one square, and calling the new product "Diamond Shreddies." Real-life market research videos that you can view by clicking here show people finding the diamond shape to be "better," "crunchier," and "more flavourful." All this was done without changing Shreddies in design, formulation, size or any other way.

Cue marketing induced salivation.

But naturally the original had its fans and they weren't happy with this change...
There...much better. Everyone's happy now.
This shows how to perfectly add intangible added value without changing the product in the slightest! In a world where companies are still making average products for average people, but people are too time poor for average and demand remarkable things, it's no wonder that Shreddies were able to so brilliantly cut through clutter and redefine a brand...without changing anything but perception.

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