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Convincing people to give a new product a try is nearly always difficult, especially in a crowded product market, such as the one for healthy snack bars. Consumers can choose among vast numbers of granola, fruit, and nut bars, so getting them to switch brands and try the new Goodness Knows line required some creative marketing by its parent brand Mars.

lo-res_420915235-sA recent advertising and marketing campaign acknowledges that it can be scary, but also thrilling and wonderful, to try something new. Inviting regular people to try their hand at writing a jingle or acting in a commercial for the Goodness Knows brand, the marketers filmed their efforts, then spliced some examples together for the ultimate marketing campaign.

In so doing, the brand also highlights that first attempts are not always successful. Tone-deaf singers offer up their voices for jingles they have written. Amateur actors deliver the wrong lines, struggle with the pronunciation of “cocoa flavinols,” and knock over displays of apples on a soundstage. But these regular people also comment about why they took the risk and how happy they were to try something that they had never done before—an ideal theme for a new product that needs to get people to give it a chance.

Goodness Knows is not totally new; the line began as a local Colorado offering in 2010, then underwent a national rollout in 2015. Its design is distinct. Rather than a single or pair of pressed bars, the packages contain four bite-sized squares, each with a foundation (usually of dark chocolate) that is covered by nuts and fruits. Mars also continues to expand the product line with new flavors. Thus the idea of introducing the brand reflects the staged strategy that Mars is undertaking. It knows that consumers are more familiar with Nature’s Valley granola bars or Kind bars. Furthermore, Mars’s strength has mainly been in the confectionary market, not healthy snacks.

In this $6.8 billion category, General Mills, Clif, Kellogg, and Kind hold most of the market share, accounting for nearly 60 percent of sales among them. Breaking in thus is not an easy proposition, but Goodness Knows remains confident. After all, its philosophy holds that if you don’t try, you’ll never know whether you might succeed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. At what stage in the new product generation cycle would you locate Goodness Knows?
  1. How does the stage influence the marketing and advertising of this product?

Source: Jessica Wohl, “Goodness Knows Flubs Are Encouraged in New Mars Ad,” Advertising Age, January 2, 2017

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