Has you seen any Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” commercials? Of course you have, they have been running these cartoon-like commercials over the last few years. Their latest take “The Story of Thanksgiving” puts a little humor on the how turkey became the holiday’s traditional meal. A very simple and humor-filled ad, yet it gets the message across beautifully. Here’s the ad below:
Similar to hearing the five-note melody define Coca-Cola, or seeing the golden arches define McDonald’s, most people are aware that this is a Red Bull commercial once they see the white background and cartoon-like figures. We recognize who the advertiser is, and what product is being marketed. Beyond recognition, the communication and message is simple. Using humor, Red Bull is showing us how the turkey became the traditional Thanksgiving meal because it could not fly away like the pig, cow, or sheep. Of course, this is ignoring the historical accuracy on timing and geographical references.
A smart way for the energy drink beverage manufacturer to insert itself into holiday conversations. This commercial serves multiple purposes. For one, it brings Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” to life in a comical manner. The advertisement clearly shows that without Red Bull and “wings”, the turkey could not escape disaster, bringing us all the enjoyment that we have enjoyed for so many years. On a more intrinsic level, it reminds consumers to drink Red Bull to stay alert this holiday season.
Very simple message (drink Red Bull this Thanksgiving) that also served a dual purpose to deliver humor. While this commercial was targeted toward the American market, it could just as well have ran during the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday in October. However, the likelihood of Red Bull centralizing their marketing communication for both Canada and the U.S. is fairly low, thus this ad only catered to the American consumers.
Does this help reinforce the Red Bull image of being your energy drink of choice this holiday season?
It’s been quite apparent that Millenials (people born between 1980s to early 2000s) shop very differently than those born before them. This demographic have also been loosely called the “Connected Consumer” since they grew up with technology that gives them information readily available at their fingertips. They are constantly on social networks, talking to their friends and family about what they should be buying. They compare prices, looking for the best deal available by price-matching and leveraging digital coupons. They are less afraid to shop online, sometimes even going in to retail outlets just to touch and feel the product before going home to order the product. These are but three examples of how Millenials have been noticed to shop differently.
Following the economic downturn, other consumer demographics (Generation X, Baby Boomers, etc) have also changed the way they shop for daily consumables. The focus on price has never been greater. Retailers and manufacturers alike are all trying hard to find a way to keep shoppers loyal to them while stealing other retailer’s loyal shoppers. They have closely monitored these behavioral changes the past few years and have started to respond. Here’s a few examples of retailer response and how the trend that the retailer picked up on.
What is the world’s largest convenience chain most known for? It’s Big Gulp Slurpees? It’s Big Bite hot dogs? It’s coffee? No matter what it is known for, there has been minimal association with “health”. Seen in parts of the United States, the world’s largest convenience store chain is now re-branding and re-positioning itself. While Slurpees and Big Bites are still very important parts of their business, branching out to emphasize healthier snacks such as fruits and bread shows their change to target Millenials, females, and the generally health-oriented shopper. They have also started to integrate free Wi-Fi (who doesn’t nowadays) in an attempt to create a welcome atmosphere that permits you to hang around even longer. A smart move since their core positioning of convenience has not changed; it is only re-purposed to communicate to a broader set of consumers.
Have you noticed all the retail changes this past year? Recently we have noticed continued attempts at consolidation: Sobeys buying Safeway, Target entering Canada, and Loblaws buying Shoppers Drug Mart. The retailer’s dilemma shifts from getting the shopper to buy more, to simply getting the shopper to come through their doors. Most retailers are now trying to get “back to the basics” and open smaller stores to compete within the urban market. No Frills – Loblaw’s discount banner – is experimenting with a smaller (10,000 sq ft) retail concept store called The Box. Catering to the urban community, The Box offers discounts on food and general merchandise similar to the regular No Frills. Urban communities typically do not have access to these discount stores given the space these stores typically need to operate. Loblaw’s is certainly not the first retailer to try a smaller format of its stores, as Walmart (Walmart Express) and Target (CityTarget) also have smaller stores to provide convenience to the urban community.
Despite the current list of websites offering groceries online (grocerygateway.com, well.ca, skyrisefoods.com, e-zgrocer.com, etc) there does not appear to be one name that can offer groceries online across Canada. That changed with Amazon.ca’s recent entry into the Canadian landscape. While their product offerings still does not provide fresh food, increasing the type of products available allows them to expand their reach and puts them on the list of approved price-match retailers for Walmart, Loblaws, and the like. Since consumers are less afraid to compare & contrast prices, shop & buy online, and read & write product reviews, Amazaon.ca’s entry into the retail landscape is significant.
While there are many ways retailers are changing to match up with today’s consumers, these are but three examples of what they are doing. It all starts with understanding what the shopper’s preferences are. Is it convenience that matters most, or price? 7-Eleven re-positions and re-brands itself. Loblaws is opening smaller stores. As we see from the above examples, it’s a little bit of both. What changes have you noticed?
For the seventh consecutive year, evian has commissioned famous fashion designers to design a limited edition bottle for them. Following in the tradition of Issey Miyake, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Saab has agreed to design a limited edition glass bottle for evian. Saab’s unique patterns is described to depict a lace gown, which showcases the strong attention to detail and expert craftsmanship for both Saab and evian.
It appears that evian has forged a strong partnership between their premium bottled water brand and the fashion industry. With seven consecutive years of unique glass bottle designs and no indication of slowing down, this has become an annual tradition that all beverage shoppers look forward to (this one included). As all successful ventures spur imitators, it is very likely that other beverage brands will follow in evian’s footsteps by collaborating with artists and designers. Diet Coke has commissioned Marc Jacobs to design a collectible bottle for them, specifically available in the European markets. Prior to that, both Diet Coke and evian have both sought out a collaboration with Jean-Paul Gaultier for limited edition glass bottle designs. And most recently Perrier got into the designer bottles with Andy Warhol collector glass and plastic bottles. However, in trying to imitate evian, which beverage manufacturer has done it right and which hasn’t?
It seems that Diet Coke has done it right and Perrier has not. The partnership choices with Marc Jacobs, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Andy Warhol are all great choices. Despite being artists and designers in different industries (fashion and art), they all represent important facets toward artistic culture. However, while Marc Jacobs, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Elie Saab were commissioned to design the bottles in their current years, the Andy Warhol bottles are a design from twenty years ago. The difference is that what was current twenty years ago is not necessarily current today. And the designs with Jean-Paul Gaultier and Elie Saab were a direct collaborative effort with the designers themselves, Perrier’s collaboration is with the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Beyond the design, the other major flaw in Perrier’s strategy has been its packaging itself. A designer bottle must convey elegance and prestige, which will certainly exist for glass bottles. Even aluminum cans can have this elegant property when designed properly. Plastic bottles do not carry this trait. Plastic bottles carry with it a notion that it changes the taste of whatever beverage it holds with it. It also carries with it the perception that it was born out of a replacement for glass bottles. In addition to glass and plastic, see the image below for the various sizes that Perrier has made their Andy Warhol collection available for purchase. Despite the different product sizes and shapes that Diet Coke can be found in, the designer products were only limited to glass bottles and select aluminum cans. evian created a special 750ml size for their designer glass bottle. Neither made it available across their entire portfolio. Once this has been done, it takes away the prestige factor because it’s not as scarce.
Perrier’s final flaw: distribution. Not that Diet Coke showing up in grocery stores is any better, but the Perrier bottle has been found with the dollar channel. Does this need any more explaining? Collectible, and fashionable products rarely make its way to dollar channels or wholesale channels simply because of the channel’s image. With Andy Warhol Perrier being found there, what does that do for the brand and the product? I would imagine that it lowers its prestige and elegance.
In the end, it may only be a question of whether the Andy Warhol Perrier bottles actually helped Perrier sell more product. However, the broader question may be whether this collaborative effort has actually been detrimental toward both Perrier and Andy Warhol.