Fun and innovative product branding can pay dividends

According to Kelvin MacKenzie writing in The Sun, OXO have produced a special edition black and white cube to mark Newcastle United’s football season called “Laughing Stock”.  Even with my limited interest in the ups and downs of football clubs I sense that this is a joke, however it is an interesting spoof of the re-branding that household products now use as a marketing tool.

Sticking with football, for the last World Cup Mars Bars were renamed Believe Bars as part of a very successful campaign that involved an integrated effort by all of Mars’s agencies in the UK (including MediaCom) and TalkSport and the Sun.  Knocking at an open door here, in terms of Englishmen’s joyful (yet doomed) optimism about the nation’s world cup campaign, the more Believe Bars you bought, the more Mars would do for the fans and the players.  In a similar change of logo whilst using the traditional font, Bisto’s packaging now reflects the advertising notion of  “aah Night” – so that you can buy “aah Monday” or “aah Tuesday” etc etc depending on which night you promise to sit down and eat a proper meal with the family – see .  Presumably you should be able to choose your night, although where I saw it in store there was only  “aah Thursday” left which frankly is a bit limiting (its already taken as my Dolmio day!).

Both brands are creating a movement with their campaigns to drive consumers to purchase by showing understanding and empathy.  Rather than focus on the brand’s outward image only, they’re identifying the target market’s desires and cleverly and successfully harnessing them in marketing and advertising, creating a positive dialogue with the buyer.

Which however brings me to my favourite grocery campaign that hasn’t yet happened in the UK of a genuinely funny piece of repackaging in Canada last year.  In January  2008 Nestle began a campaign for Diamond Shreddies. The associated website still allows you to vote on which shape you’d rather buy, and I may tell you its close… current voting runs at 129,733 votes for Square and 139,316 votes for Diamond.  Parents apparently overwhelming vote for Square as you might expect, and the Diamond shape is preferred by more radical and younger thinkers.

The campaign apparently significantly grew sales and was awarded the 2008 Grand Clio prize in the US.

(For those unable to visualise the redesign a Diamond Shreddie is of course a normal Shreddie turned 45 degrees round.)

So whilst harnessing a deep rooted human desire can pay dividends in integrated marketing, so too can playing around with the product and packet design and just having a bit of a laugh.  I’d think the public might particularly respond to that at times like these.

As seen at

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