How is it that some people can unwittingly ridicule themselves far more than anyone else could while trying? Case and point with Folgers Coffee.
Allow us to use a more bizarre application of the ever-popular wine analogy for coffee: for decades, Folgers profited as coffee’s equivalent of Thunderbird. But as consumers have developed more of an interest in, and taste for, higher quality products, the reach and profitability of the misery market — whether wine or coffee — has waned dramatically.
Thunderbird’s Ernest & Julio Gallo responded to the challenge with high-gloss marketing, upscale brands, and even a family crest. Folgers is responding with “the biggest innovation since the launch of decaf” and an ad campaign that is “the most expensive in the history of the brand,” according to yesterday’s New York Times: Advertising – Folgers Markets a New Coffee to Cost-Cutting Home Brewers – NYTimes.com.
Folgers is also responding with a heavy dose of unwitting self-ridicule. So what is this innovation? The culmination of 8-10 years of research, Folgers is unveiling a new roasting process that includes a “predry” or “preroast” step to make their product less bitter.
And here’s where the self-ridicule comes in. Also from the New York Times article:
Jim Trout, innovation leader for research and development, at P.& G., said: “It’s like thawing a turkey before you cook it. If you don’t, the outside will be burnt and the inside will still be raw. This way it cooks evenly all the way through.”
Now if you’re promoting a new product in the food industry that you want to be perceived as better, improved, and — dare we suggest — gourmet, why would anyone in a sane frame of mind compare their fancied product to frozen turkeys? We suppose we should at least give them credit for not comparing it to instant mashed potatoes.
5 Comments »