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One of these things is not like the other October 15, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing.
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Let’s be clear: I like me some Pringles (less so Pringle). What I don’t like is them moving to be something they’re not. Now, in fairness the supermarket chains demand consistent product innovation from companies, so they do somewhat get backed into a corner (make no mistake, they are the evil empire), but I just can’t let this one slide. On the left we have regular old Pringles just doing their thing Texas-BBQ stylie. This is familiar territory.

On the right though, Light Aromas. LIGHT AROMAS FROM PRINGLES. SPARE ME. This is a snack food where people compete to see how many they can fit into their mouths at once, there is nothing subtle or understated about this brand. Mediterranean Style Salsa “with a touch of Oregano Oil”. I’m sorry, I didn’t know Gordon Ramsay was now consulting on snack food. Is Heston Blumenthal about to roll out a selection of Smith’s Crisps under the Fat Duck brand?

This is utter nonsense. Honest to God smack-my-ass-and-call-me-Judy rubbish. Oregano oil.  You couldn’t make this shit up, I don’t know anyone other than Pringles who has ever cooked with oregano oil, next we’ll have saffron-infused potatoes being prepared in Franciscan monasteries for a deluxe Happy Meal at McDonalds. Give me strength.

Of course I could be wrong, and this is a lovely opportunity to try out WordPress‘s new built-in poll. So, are Pringles jumping the shark here or should I shut up and enjoy the taste sensation?

Just as I was about to press “Publish”, I spotted the below article. Stop the world, I want to get off.

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Comments»

1. oolong - October 16, 2008
2. David Gillespie - October 16, 2008

Are you doing that just to piss me off? BECAUSE IT IS WORKING.

3. Julian Cole - October 16, 2008

That is by far the ugliest poll I have ever seen, it looks like something out of a 1990 powerepoint presentation but then again my whole site is pretty ugly so I cannot really talk.

And yes Pringles is weak and following a meme but as long as they continue offering original, I will be happy

4. Alysha Sandow - October 17, 2008

Oh Pringles.
I guess a brand can grow quickly if it builds on the foundation of performance, personality, and presence to create innovative strategies for expansion and a well-balanced focus on diversification. -But this, laid out so neatly by yourself David, is like a pringle-personality disorder.
Why do these big brands “work” for customers?
The reasons are familiar: they are supposed to simplify everyday choices. Not to complicate. I don’t get why brands like *these* have built up such an identity then dilute it with other random concepts and whims that they have derived from here, or borrowed from there.
Intangible assets include more than just variants on products. The connection between brand strength and consumerism brings to mind ideas that products should generate more love and soloution by integrity and value behind one great ‘thing/concept/product’, or so I thought.
-You don’t see Vegemite infused with anything now do you?

Hmmm… It really puts me off Pringles all together now you mention it.

5. David Gillespie - October 21, 2008

Alysha, I love that idea – new from Kraft: mint-infused Vegemite.

We’ll be rich!

Seriously though, I can’t think of another snack food other than Pringles I’ve eaten since I was a kid – largely because the wicked Korean barbecue chips I used to love I’ve never seen outside of Hong Kong.

As Julian says, they’re following a meme, taking this notion of everyday luxury and making it available to the masses. Exactly wat I was getting at come to think of it in Everyone 2.0.


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