In this series of posts I aim to bring to light off-beat stories from the world of marketing. This week the focus is on innovation.
First up is the Litter Kwitter, a device that helps people train their cat to use a toilet rather than a litter tray. Strange to look at it may be, but it has several indisputable hallmarks of rigorous innovation practice; a good, clean insight; a crystal-clear consumer benefit; and a protectable stake in the unoccupied ground of its market. One potential criticism is the emphasis on the product brand in the architecture which will mean the positive associations (e.g. convention-breaking, innovative ways of making pet owners’ lives easier) do not percolate up to a masterbrand that could offer the opportunity for profitable extension in the future.
Secondly, there’s the Comfort Wipe, ‘the first improvement to toilet paper as we know it since the 1880s’. Not only does the clear insight, benefit and market novelty of this product suggest good innovation practice, but it is also very much on trend. While the creative is unlikely to win any prizes, with the ‘obese market’ representing a growing niche there may be a bright future ahead for the product.
And lastly I wanted to bring your attention to a new campaign from MoonCup, ‘the healthy alternative to tampons’. Women tend to be more open-minded than men about products like this but the problem for the brand remains the high consumer sensitivity and emotional barrier surrounding purchase and use. Having discussed it with friends, it’s clear that even among open-minded women, the numerous benefits of the innovation (including highly on trend eco issues) are often not sufficient enough to overcome their resistance. That’s presumably why MoonCup’s latest campaign seems to be geared towards generating a sense of openness and community among target consumers. The website and print campaign (see below) encourage women to ‘tell us what you lovingly call yours’. It’s hard to tell if it’s working but judging by the growing tag-cloud and some of the more frequent nominations, I dare say the campaign may currently be attracting more attention from men than from women.
One of our maxims at The Value Engineers is that when it comes to successful innovation ‘ideas are rarely the problem’. It’s why we underline the holistic branding and marketing approach we take to the practice. And in all these cases, it’s clear that when working in areas of cultural taboo or emotional sensitivity, the development and communication of an innovative proposition can be as important as the innovation itself. We wish them the best of luck.
Thanks to a new Specsavers parody, Unilever appear to have succeeded in getting their media spend for the Lynx ‘billions‘ ad on BOGOF.
One of our mantras at The Value Engineers is ‘out-think, rather than out-spend the competition’ but even good thinking costs more than good luck. So as supporters of savvy, canny marketing, we can only congratulate Unilever’s response to the burdensome decision it must have faced when, according to MediaWeek, their ‘permission for the strapline’ was sought before the launch of this (Specsavers) ad:
Once again we’re pleased to see our brand in the news.
This week Giles Lury, Director of Branding, appears in The Grocer, in Alex Beckett’s article, ‘Chew on this: too much NPD can be a category’s undoing’.
Giles comments on some of the issues facing the chewing gum market – we’ve selected some of his quotes: ”Chewing gum got too complicated for its own good… There was an explosion of fruit flavours a few years ago, which led to a cluttered shelf space that was hard to navigate. In some ways it was a victim of its own success.”
“Society doesn’t have a good perception of gum and it lacks positive role models… [it] has a long term-societal battle to fight.”
If you’d like to read more and have access to the magazine online, click here.