I started my agency career by working on McDonald’s when it had a great quality perception.
But I wanted to work on Packaged Goods. That’s where the game was in those days. Much like working on technology and gaming and the sexy sectors today.
My goal lead me to working on brands like Kellogg’s, Warner Lambert, Mithum Thayer, S.C. Johnson, Canadian Divisions of Campbell’s Soup and others that I can’t remember.
I really didn’t enjoy it often as I didn’t go to their schools, wear their Brooks Brothers suits or have their same homogenous haircuts or their MBA lingo.
But what’s a poor boy going to do?
I loved the Analytics, the knowledge, the fact based decision making based on all the research that was conducted. I loved the discovery of research.
I didn’t like discussing on the merits of which was a stronger consumer benefit healthy or healthful after two focus groups had concluded at 10 at night in San Francisco.
You cut your toughest chops by working on Packaged Goods in those days.
I rode with sales people and did store checks on the weekend looking for the product and calling the client on a land line on Monday telling them if there were out of stocks.
I learned about targeting opportunities Like BDI’s and CDI’s. Brand Development Index was about the low hanging fruit. The high potential low investment opportunity.
I still do store checks when I shop. I was shopping for wine with a friend in Mar del Plata, Argentina a few years ago, We saw Coca Cola bottles with green labels. Coca Cola Life. A green label on a bottle of Coke what is all that about? I took a picture.
I was in a grocery store where most of the people weren’t obese. Poor? Yes, but not obese and that means there is a good chance their children won’t be obese.
Coca Cola Life has 60% of the calories of regular Coke. It was created in Argentina and Chile.
I did a store check the other day in Santa Ana at Northgate Market close to where I live.
They have the best Chilies, Moles, and skirt steaks. The place is busy so you have to get a number at the butcher counter. There’s an attendant with a microphone shouting out the next number.
I waited for my turn.
Cuarenta y dos he announced in Spanish and English.
Santa Ana is primarily Hispanic. Hispanics have an obesity problem.
So what did I see while doing my store checks?
I saw an upfront end aisle with 5 bottles of 2 Litre Coca Cola for $5. You are not going to get that deal where you live.
The next aisle had a front end of Frito Lays for $1.59 for a large bag. Reminding me of the why I see the Frito Lay logo more on Soccer Jerseys in the Premier League and other international teams.
The next aisle had a front end display for three boxes of sugar cereal for $5.00.
I was looking at this while we were in the checkout line. The cashier smiled at us because they don’t get that many gringos in the store. There is very little English spoken here unless they were talking to me.
I looked at the family behind me with their cart. It was a Hispanic lady with her son who was about 8 or 9 and overweight. Their cart had three two liters of Orange Fanta.
What more can I say?
Maybe it is time for Marketers to create a new reality and create heathy people. You don’t need focus groups to know that.
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