Your input is sought: Examples of foodstuffs that include logos

Friend of Murketing Rubi McGrory is rounding up foodstuffs “with logos built right in — when you eat the food, you eat the logo.”

This is in connection with an exhibition here in Savannah.

Examples:

Sweet Foods

  • M&Ms
  • Oreos
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Lorna Doons

Not sweet Foods

  • Carrs crackers
  • Goldfish (the food is the logo)
  • Chex mix (again, the food is the logo)

More savory examples particularly needed.

Thoughts? Please ask around! Answer below or on Rubi’s blog.

Thank you, brilliant and generous people!

In The New York Times Magazine: Naked Pizza

PIZZA WITH A POINT:
A fast-food alternative wants to start a conversation — palatably

If you want to read a lengthy essay, complete with journal citations, about the company’s philosophy of eating, it’s on the company blog. Entries run as long as 1,400 words. But if you just want some pizza, that’s also fine. “You can dig as deep as you want,” Leach says, “or not dig at all.”

Read the column in the September 13, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.

Advertising, entertainment, and what’s for dinner tonight

If you missed it, I really recommend Michael Pollan’s cover story from the Times Mag this weekend, on food preparation as something we watch on television, rather than something we do. It’s really well done. Here’s one side note that’s particularly relevant to this site:

It’s no accident that Julia Child appeared on public television — or educational television, as it used to be called. On a commercial network, a program that actually inspired viewers to get off the couch and spend an hour cooking a meal would be a commercial disaster, for it would mean they were turning off the television to do something else. The ads on the Food Network, at least in prime time, strongly suggest its viewers do no such thing: the food-related ads hardly ever hawk kitchen appliances or ingredients (unless you count A.1. steak sauce) but rather push the usual supermarket cart of edible foodlike substances, including Manwich sloppy joe in a can, Special K protein shakes and Ore-Ida frozen French fries, along with fast-casual eateries like Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

Yes. And of course those advertisers know exactly what they are doing: Associating their processed or prepared-for-you foodstuffs and meals with the vague idea of hands-on cooking. Maybe watching someone expertly prepare a meal from scratch is something that makes you feel good, and if a can of Manwhich can associate itself with that good feeling, nonconsciously of course, perhaps that association will still lurk in your brain somewhere as you wheel through Kroger.

The whole piece is actually full of great stuff about consumer behavior, advertising, and entertainment, filtered through the lens of food. Great stuff.

In The New York Times Magazine: Premium chocolate

THE SWEET PAYOFF
Does an $8 chocolate bar offer something besides taste to the beleaguered consumer?

This week in Consumed, a look at “compensatory consumption,” through the lens of pricey chocolate.

Their thinking is that the little boost of, say, pricey chocolate, might not be solely about mood but about responding to threats to status or competence, Rucker told me. Ideally you would respond to such challenges directly: standing up to a boss who is pushing you around, demonstrating skill to silence skeptics and so on. But often the sources of undermined confidence are more abstract. “What’s happened in modern society under capitalism is that people have found consumer products as an outlet, a safety valve for addressing these threats in a very indirect fashion,” Rucker contends.

Read the column in the February 8, 2009 issue of The New York Times Magazine, or here. [2/9 update: Here's me talking about the column on "Word of Mouth," on New Hampshire Public Radio.]

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. The Times’ Consumed RSS feed is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

“Letters should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, Magazine, The New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018. The e-mail address is magazine@nytimes.com. All letters should include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number. We are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished letters. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.”

In The New York Times Magazine: Milk Media

MILK CARTOON:
Co-opting the kids’-entertainment-character marketing strategy for a lunchroom staple

Today, as part of a special food-themed issue of the New York Times Magazine, Consumed looks at an effort to get kids to drink more milk — by putting pop culture branded characters on the cartons.

As the Milk Media Web site puts it, “We introduced the concept of branded cartons to forge relationships between sponsors who had characters that kids really cared about as a more effective tactic to make milk ‘Cool for Kids.’ ” …

Milk has few enemies. Branding that reaches out to children inside the educational system, however, is a reliable source of outrage. …

Read the column in the October 12, 2008 issue of The New York Times Magazine, or here.

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. The Times’ Consumed RSS feed is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

To make a point about Consumed that you think readers of The Times Magazine would be interested in: “Letters should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, Magazine, The New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018. The e-mail address is magazine@nytimes.com. All letters should include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number. We are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished letters. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.”

Flickr Interlude

obama mocha vs. mccain mocha, originally uploaded by _cheryl.

Seen at genuine joe coffeehouse, austin, tx.

[Join and contribute to the Murketing Flickr group]

In The New York Times Magazine: Red Mango (v. Pinkberry)

GONE SOUR
The sweet benefits of a clearly defined rival

This week in Consumed, a look at Red Mango’s rivalry with Pinkberry.

It’s a cliché that the fight for survival brings out the best in business rivals, but a clear rivalry is also useful to consumers — it’s something to latch on to, an opportunity to take sides. Many Red Mango locations are in conspicuously close proximity to a Pinkberry. Kim claims this is a “coincidence,” owing more to his own chain’s real estate research than to any provocation. But read the reviews on Yelp.com of the Pinkberry and Red Mango locations that more or less face each other on Bleecker Street in New York. The Red Mango at 182 Bleecker registers four stars out of five, based on 74 reviews — many of which reference Pinkberry directly.

Read the column in the September 7, 2008 issue of the New York Times Magazine, or here.

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. The Times’ Consumed RSS feed is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

To make a point about Consumed that you think readers of The Times Magazine would be interested in: “Letters should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, Magazine, The New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018. The e-mail address is magazine@nytimes.com. All letters should include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number. We are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished letters. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.”

In The New York Times Magazine: Pirate’s Booty

SNACK MENTALITY
Puffed treats that make your noshing feel a little more virtuous.

This week in Consumed, a look at a snack that seems to have drawn a crowd by way of its virtues, its quirkiness, its honest — and kept it despite some pretty serious road bumps.

Pirate’s Booty hasn’t simply leveraged unusual consumer loyalty into a business with a reported $50 million in annual revenue. It has held onto that loyalty despite incidents that would seem to cut against its image. A few years ago, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute slammed the brand after its own tests found that a one-ounce serving of Booty contained 8.5 grams of fat, not 2.5 as the label indicated. And in 2007, the company issued a recall of its Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings varieties after they were linked to cases of salmonella.

Included: Founder explains that “Good For You” is not so much a claim as a congratulation: “You bought this bag — well, good for you!” The product contains no MSG and no preservatives, and therefore the buyer deserves a pat on the back for choosing a snack that’s not so bad: “Wow, you chose something that is going to change your life,” he says.

Read the whole column in the June 29, 2008 issue of The New York Times Magazine, or right here.

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

Mmmmmm.

I already pointed to this in the linkroll at right earlier in the week, but let’s just pause to appreciate the existence of a blog about doughnuts. (Via bookofjoe.)

Of recent and not entirely frivolous interest on The Blognut: A Q&A with the cofounder of the outstanding Top Pot Doughnuts, addressing that Seattle-based business’s deal with Starbucks, which I hadn’t realized is apparently nationwide.

Oklahoma City to overweight residents: Eat at Taco Bell

QSR Magazine:

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett joined Taco Bell President Greg Creed today at the Taco Bell restaurant on 13920 North May Avenue to announce a unique partnership in support of the OKC Million Challenge. Beginning today, Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu, offering 9 items with less than 9 grams of fat, will become the Official Menu of the Mayor’s Challenge.

The Grinder wonders:

Do we really need democratically elected governments signing endorsement deals with internationally franchised restaurant megachains?

More on Honest Tea & Coke

The other day I linked to this Chews Wise (Sam Fromartz, author of Organic Inc.) post about Honest Tea‘s new relationship with Coca Cola. Two updates on that. Marketing Profs blog offers a few other examples of niche food/beverage brands, particularly with some kind of organic or other feel-good hook, being bought giants. (It also notes that Clorox “quietly” bought Burt’s Bees recently. I’m not sure how quiet that was, but here’s a huge New York Times story on the subject from a month ago.) The blog says:

On the positive side, the mega food companies also greatly expand distribution for their acquired brands, and have the ability to market with much deeper pockets. They sometimes even allow their new baby brands to influence some of their business thinking. While it is now au courant to become green or more natural, for example, the insights and influence corporate giants are getting from their newly acquired brands has actually begun to effect change in their thinking. . .and that’s a good thing.

Second, Mr. Fromartz has gone direct to the source and done a quite interesting Q&A with Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman. I recommend checking out the whole thing, but a few things I want to highlight here.

Goldman specifically mentions the distribution issue noted above as a major plus for his company in the new deal. I can’t tell you how many times this comes up when I interview startup entrepreneurs — you can have all the clever marketing and awesome consumer evangelism you want, but without distribution, you’re limited.

Most interestingly, Goldman even cites McDonald’s as “an example of the kind of account that we will now have access to,” meaning they can at least get in the door for a meeting, because of the Coke connection. It might seem surprising that a successful new beverage can’t do that on its own. And I’m not in a position to say with certainty whether it’s 100% true all the time. But it doesn’t surprise me at all; it’s quite consistent with stories I’ve heard before, in plenty of categories.

Then Goldman offers another example: Wal-Mart, he says, is a place where Honest Tea “should be.” Fromartz of course brings up the obvious question of how Honest Tea loyalists might respond to their little brand popping up in such places. Goldman:

We’ve gotten a lot of emails, mostly positive but some negative. One of the most important points is I’m not trying to excuse or rationalize what Coke sells. They’ve obviously been successful at it. But if people think their product is unhealthy, then their desire should be to see more Honest Tea available wherever Coke is sold.

Honest (Tea) critique

Samuel Fromartz of Organic Inc./Chews Wise offers a fairly skeptical take on Honest Tea (7/3/05 Consumed subject) selling a big ownership chunk to Coke. One excerpt, addressed to co-founder Seth Goldman:

Remember your name, Honest Tea? The name implies that there is something less honest or dishonest out there that is being sold, and you are the alternative. Being the alternative – it’s part of your DNA.

So you have to make the case that Coke will not compromise all that your brand stands for, and has stood for, over the years. Heck, all that YOU stand for.

Hydrox

Nice story in the WSJ yesterday by Christopher Rhoads on the subject of Hydrox fans coping with the loss of this cookie that was crushed by its similar rival, the mighty Oreo. Apparently Kellogg pulled the plug in 2003:

While aware that Hydrox cookies were becoming harder to find, many of their fans are learning only now they are gone.

“This is a dark time in cookie history,” wrote Gary Nadeau of O’Fallon, Mo., last year on a Web site devoted to Hydrox. “And for those of you who say, ‘Get over it, it’s only a cookie,’ you have not lived until you have tasted a Hydrox.”

Still reeling from their loss, Mr. Nadeau and other “Hydrox people” have yet to accept their fate. Some have started an online petition demanding that Kellogg bring the cookie back. They have collected 866 signatures.

The full story is here. The only thing missing is any comment from Paul Lukas, who once proposed Oreo People vs. Hydrox people as possibly the definitive human dichotomy. (He also wrote a nice Hydrox piece for Fortune back in 1999, right here. These days of course he’s focused on other things.)

Also, the story does not give a URL or link for the mentioned “Web site devoted to Hydrox” where Nadeau made the “dark time in cookie history” comment, or for the petition. I found the petition, and I found this Hydrox site, but I can’t find Nadeau’s comment. If you have the link please pass it along.

Never mind that last request, the mystery has been solved for me in the comment below (thanks adam!): Nadeau’s quote is from the guestbook of that same Hydrox fan site, right here.

Lessons of “Simpsons” marketing: Clip and save

I’ve been reading with great interest the various marketing gurus talking about the brilliant campaign preceding the movie version of The Simpsons. I make no predictions about anything, such as whether the film will actually do well. But if it does do well, here are a few secret ingredients that — so far as I know — the experts haven’t mentioned yet. These, in other words, are the “lessons” you can apply to your film or brand. I’m revealing them to you now! Are you ready? Here goes! You heard it here first!
1. Prior to the release of your film, create a successful television program.

2. Do this many years before TiVo, or the widespread availability of 200-channel digital cable packages, or Mosaic (that’s Netscape kids; do people still know what Netscape was?) and all that it begat.

3. Enlist an authentic creative genius to actually invent your show.

4. The creative genius should be a known (and revered) quantity among certain audience members because of his work in something that was called the “alternative press,” which was kind of like the “niche culture” thing that today’s gurus talk about, but back before it had made its way into the marketing lexicon.

5. Make sure the show stays consistently strong — for 18 years.

6. Do this in a way that continues to attract new generations of viewers who have absolutely no idea what pre-Web culture was like — but without alienating those viewers who do.

7. By the time your film/product is released, make sure that the above-mentioned groundwork has woven your TV show deeply into the American pop psyche, so that its various catch phrases and references can be used universally, and without explanation, in almost any situation.

That’s it!

Once you do those seven things, you should be set. Good lessons! Apply them well!

Not cheese. Cheez.

The NYT obit page brings news of the passing of Edwin Traisman, who “helped invent iconic foods.” Should food be “invented”? Today, we might say no, but he worked in a different era, and I’m not here to judge. Anyway, the obit mostly focuses on Traisman’s contributions to McDonald’s fry uniformity, but this is what I’d like to know more about:

While he was at Kraft, from 1949 to 1957, Mr. Traisman led the team that combined cheese, emulsifiers and other ingredients into the bright yellow sauce called Cheez Whiz.

Imagine the excitement of being in on the Cheez Whiz team. It must have been the Manhattan Project of bright yellow sauce invention.