Thursday, January 17, 2008

What a difference a fridge makes

The orange (flavoured) drink Sunny Delight, the meat product Pepperami and the most soy milk products found in supermarkets all share three traits with each other.
The first is that they are poor excuses for their “parent products” (REAL juice, meat and milk respectively). Secondly they are all found in the refrigerated section of a supermarket. Finally, none of them need to be there, they don’t need to be stored in a cold environment, so why the fridge?

One of my lecturers used the example of sunny delight to highlight the concept of positioning of a product, both physically on the shelves and mentally in the mind of a customer. Due to negligible quantities of actual orange juice in sunny delight it does not require refrigeration during storage, and to begin with Sunny D was place on regular non-refrigerated shelves across the land. Well at Sunny HQ they noticed something was wrong… no one was buying their product, it seems people didn’t want to buy warm orange drink, and furthermore weren’t too keen on paying a price that often exceeded that of its chilled and more healthy alternative. The team up at Sunny D central designed special promotion fridges to put the drink in, and shortly after that the stuff started flying off the Refrigerated shelves.

Seth Godin gives the example of “Silk” soya milk in the United States, it was a great product and had a known market who wanted the product… but no one bought it, why? It was just on regular shelves, who buys warm milk of shelves?... no one. As soon as they convinced supermarkets to stock it along side the milk displays it suddenly gained greater credibility and acceptance with shoppers and resulted in a whopping 300% increase in sales.

My current vice of choice is Pepperami, a cured meat snack which through the amount of processing it endures no longer really qualifies as a meat product is also stored in fridges alongside its meaty ancestors, despite the instructions on the pack which remind consumers that refrigeration is unnecessary. Putting it with the meat, rather than the crisps and popcorn gives it a bit more credibility as a meat product and in turn allows them to charge us customers a bit more money.

What a difference a fridge makes...

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