Tag Archives: key messages

Let’s All Eat Bugs!


It can be difficult to launch new products in a crowded marketplace – example: foods. Products need to be differentiated from the competition in order to gain attention. But sometimes new products can be so significantly different that they defy consumer acceptance. This is quite possibly the case with foods made using insects – let’s call them ‘bug bars’.

Lest we think this is an unusual food source, consider that insects are a sustainable, economical, and accessible source of protein – and are eaten by nearly every culture in the world (except the U.S.). Insects are 69% protein by dry weight, compared to 31% for chicken breast and 29% for sirloin steak. Insect protein can provide as much calcium as milk and more iron than beef. Insect farming is also good for the environment; they produce 1/80th the methane that cattle do and need only 1/12th their feed (based on 100-gram portions of each). They reproduce quickly and do not require the vast amounts of farm and grassland as do the other protein sources.

Now, if we could just get past the “ick” factor… That’s the marketing challenge.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the various promotional tactics that can be used for launching a product.
2. Have students come up with tactics and list all the tactics on the white board (ex: billboards, print, direct mail, etc.).
3. Show students the following Web sites and videos:
4. Divide students into groups to work on this exercise.
5. For the protein cricket bars, have each team select three different tactics. For each tactic, explain why it was selected and how it will be used.
6. Have teams develop a key message and identify a target market.
7. Debrief by putting together the entire suggested lists on the white board. As a final step, have the entire class vote on the top three tactics and messages to use.

Source: New York Times

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Ice Trucking in an Entirely New Way


Not every product can easily show how it is different from competing products. Some products just seem to have utilitarian purposes and are less than exciting to market. For example, how does a tire company illustrate why its product is superior to another tire? Or in this case – how does a car battery stand apart from other batteries and prove that it can withstand freezing cold temperatures in the polar vortext season?

Canadian Tire, located in Ottawa, faced this issue head-on when it created an exciting, innovative marketing campaign featuring the coldest vehicle possible – a 15,000 pound truck made of ice! The company, Canada’s leading retailer of automotive goods, struggled to clearly show how its batteries excelled and to make the product exciting to consumers. The key selling point was to test, and prove, that the battery could reliably start a car in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.  Starting with a 2005 GMC Sierra chassis, the truck frame was reinforced and welded (ice doesn’t bend); extra fans and cooling were added so that the engine wouldn’t melt the ice. The battery did indeed start and drive the car – even gaining a Guinness World record in the process. The advertisement was a resounded success, but alas, the truck eventually melted.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the Web site and videos: http://www.canadiantire.ca/icetruck
  2. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  3. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid for the battery product.
  5. When debriefing the exercise, make sure to emphasize to students the difference between what a company wants to tell the market, and what a customer wants to hear about the product.

Source:  New York Times, other news sources, 1/20/14

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