Monthly Archives: February 2012

A branding milestone for Oreo cookies.

Hard to believe, but Oreo Sandwich Cookies brand turns 100 on March 6th. While the brand has changed hands over the last 100 years and is currently owned by Kraft Foods, it has maintained its presence and relevance in the supermarket cookie aisle. Kids and adults from generations past enjoyed them, just as they do today.

Protecting and nurturing a brand requires commitment to both its roots and its contemporary environment. Kraft Foods has indicated that the birthday celebrations are being supported with a fully integrated campaign using traditional and new media along with special events and promotions. The traditional components re-enforce the legacy and authenticity of the Oreo brand, while the new media components speak to the younger generations of Oreo fans.

It is a milestone for any food and beverage brand to celebrate a 100th birthday. The only way to achieve that kind of success is through continued branding, advertising, and marketing efforts.

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“Free-from” appearing on more food packaging.

There were almost 3,000 new food product launches last year in Western Europe and the US with “free-from” packaging claims. That represents  10% of all new product launches in the US and Western Europe combined. Dairy-free and lactose-free represent $3.6 bln of market value while gluten-free represents $3.5 bln…certainly not “free-from” profitable.

“Free-from” packaging claims play into consumer perceptions of the health benefits of not consuming certain foods or ingredients.  This is an interesting juxtaposition of another current trend: “good for you” package claims of what is in food products. Food marketers need to closely read consumer attitudes in light of their products and ingredients to develop packaging that successfully positions  their products.  With major brands, for example Barilla, Italy gluten-free pasta, jumping into what was simply a market niche a couple of years ago, “free-from” claims are clearly now mainstream in marketing and advertising.

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Your food products may be great, but do consumers “like” you?

Seventy percent of consumers say they avoid buying brands and products from companies they dislike, according to a recent consumer survey from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.  Equally important, two-thirds of surveyed consumers said they routinely check product labels and packaging to determine the name of the corporate entity owning the product brand, and over 50% would hesitate to buy a product if the corporate identity is not readily visible on the packaging.

Clearly, branding in the classic sense has evolved to include corporate reputation as well as product brand reputation. This is particularly important for food and beverage marketers.  Perceived wrong-doing, in any number of areas, is more significant in consumer attitudes than the perception of corporate efforts  “to do the right thing”.

While companies can’t control everything that is said about them, a long term commitment to branding and building consumer confidence can provide a “leg up” when reputation issues do arise. Since over 80% of survey respondents indicated that online reviews and search results were primary sources of corporate and product brand information, keeping in touch with consumers through websites, social media, and advertising will help build and maintain a solid reputation. Bottom line, consumers have many choices and they don’t have to buy products they like from companies they don’t like.

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