Tag Archives: product development

Mac & Cheese Ice Cream

The location of a product on the product life cycle is an important indicator of how the product should be marketed. After all, there is no reason for a Super Bowl ad for a product in the declining stage. But how do marketers bring new life and positioning to mature products. Well, Kraft has done a good job with this summer’s new ice cream flavor.

It’s the time of year when the demand for ice cream is at a peak. Favorite flavors include, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, rocky road, mac and cheese, chocolate chip… Wait, what? Mac & Cheese flavored ice cream?

Yes, you read that correctly. In a new food mashup that takes advantage of its reputation as a traditional comfort food, Kraft Mac & Cheese Ice Cream was (briefly) available to help quench our summer desire for cool treats. Kraft worked with Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen ice cream for a co-branded product that looks suspiciously yellow and supposedly tastes like mac and cheese.

The new flavor was only available online and at 23 Van Leeuwen shops in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. Unfortunately for fans, the gluten-free ice cream quickly sold out.

This isn’t Kraft’s only mashup. Last year Kraft teamed with Cheetos for Cheetos Mac & Cheese in three spicy flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno. These types of food combinations – mashups – bring renewed interest to old, familiar foods and flavors. It’s also a perfect blend for social media postings to involve old and new consumers.

What else could use a mashup?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are their favorite ice cream flavors? Has anyone had a uniquely produced ice cream?
  2. Discuss the marketing appeal of unusual product mashups.
  3. Show the ice cream Website: https://vanleeuwenicecream.com/product/kraft-mac-and-cheese/
  4. Show video about the product: https://youtu.be/x12V_AyLA2w
  5. Where is ice cream on the product life cycle? How about Mac & Cheese?
  6. Where is the new product on the PLC? What is the expected length of the cycle?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two brands for a mashup product.
  8. How should these new products be marketed?
  9. What are the potential results?

Source:  Ad Week; NPR; other news sources

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Nike: “Play New” and “Toughest Athletes”

Most of the time marketers target a specific group of consumers for their products and services. Marketers can target a consumer group using a number of factors including geography, demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviors. The key is to understand the consumer group for which the products are intended. The products have to show value and benefits; the company’s advertising has to show that the company understands the needs and desires of the consumer group.

Athletics is a very large consumer group. It can have professionals, amateurs, youth, mature, various sports, and more. Nike recently launched a new campaign to appeal to people who want to try new sports but fail at them, encouraging new athletes to not give up after a few fails. For this market, there are many existing products to sell, but the mindset is different. The “Play New” campaign showcases elite athletes and professionals trying a new sport that they don’t excel at – and shows them failing at it! The campaign will be paired with a full-body Snapchat augmented reality lens customized for yoga, dancing, surfing, and boxing. All are encouraging consumers to attempt something new and uncomfortable initially.

In addition to “Play New,” Nike also launched a new campaign (along with full athletic wear apparel) geared to pregnant women and new moms. New moms are of course cast as the “Toughest Athletes” and the commercial shows international moms-to-be and moms who are flexing their athletic and maternal abilities. Additionally, the campaign will contain four guided, motherhood workouts that will be part of the Nike Run Club app.

Nike seems to identify new markets and approaches at a high rate. What other approaches could it take?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are the target markets for Nike? (Did anyone mention pregnant women and new moms?)
  2. Show the Nike video for pregnant women: https://youtu.be/_-5MGkUwe6w
  3. Show the website for Nike Maternity wear: https://www.nike.com/maternity
  4. Video for “Play new” campaign: https://youtu.be/BUvEEVq4woU
  5. Why these two target markets?
  6. What else can Nike do to encourage buying from these consumers?
  7. What other new target markets could Nike sell to?

Source: Ad Week; other news sources

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New Products for Snacks and More

It seems as if there is a proliferation of new food products hitting the market this spring. In just one week recently we found a number of new food products from Pillsbury, Kind, and Target. What’s going on? Are consumers hungrier than usual, or are they just hungry for change?

Well, it’s a little of both. Yes, consumers are hungry, but we are now at the one-year point in the Covid-19 pandemic and consumers have also made changes to their eating, cooking, and shopping habits. We eat out less and snack more.

In Target’s case, it is launching a new grocery brand named “Favorite Day” with more than 700 snacks and treats that are focused on consumers who want to indulge. The new line includes cookies, trail mix, ice cream, snacks, beverage mixers, frozen desserts, and more. Target’s research indicates that customers want to treat themselves as they juggle hectic schedules and stress. (The new Favorite Day private-label store brand replaces Archer Farms and Simply Balanced which generated more than $2 billion in sales last year.)

Pillsbury is launching its first-ever ready-to-eat cookies, after years of successfully selling frozen cookie dough. Why the switch to pre-made? Pillsbury’s research shows that consumers are tired of constantly cooking and cleaning and are looking for convenience and shortcuts in the kitchen. Pre-pandemic, the pre-made cookie category was only a single-digit growth market. But now the category has grown in sales by roughly 12% in the past year.

In Kind’s situation, the company has a new frozen smoothie bowl for breakfasts. Smoothie bowels have spiked in popularity, including new kitchen appliances focused on smoothies. And, when a year ago consumers might have eaten a breakfast at a restaurant, there has been a sharp decline in eating breakfast out and instead consumers have turned to granola, cereal, eggs, bagels, fruit, and pancakes. According to research company IRI, frozen breakfast foods increased by 7% last year to $3.7 billion.

Try them out. Will they make it into your regular shopping rotation?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a great example of introducing new products.
  2. Show Target’s new products: https://www.target.com/b/favorite-day/-/N-q643lewlzpu?lnk=snav_rd_favorite_day
  3. Show Pillsbury’s new cookies: https://www.pillsbury.com/products/already-baked-snacks/soft-baked-cookies/soft-baked-butterscotch-chocolate-chip-cookies
  4. View Kind snacks: https://www.kindsnacks.com/
  5. Discuss the steps of the product innovation process.
  6. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning. What are some of the factors that have led these companies to introduce new products?
  7. Finally, use these examples to discuss the various stages of the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?

Source: AdWeek; CNN News; Minneapolis Star Tribune; other news sources.

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