Really Bad Marketing Decisions

The Lempert Report
December 08, 2021

I just love brilliant marketing ideas. I respect them and in many cases, they make me jealous I didn’t think of them! And then there are those that make me shudder. Remember in the early 2000s when Heinz came up with their green ketchup. It was an overnight sensation and bumped up sales. But the brand was greedy so they introduced blue, then purple which floundered – after all how much ketchup does one family need? No question kids just love brightly colored everything – including foods, but then as a last resort, a brand manager decided to try one more – a mystery bottle – where you had no idea what color the ketchup was. It could be orange, teal or purple. This brand manager, I suppose, just didn’t realize that parents were becoming more concerned about artificial colors – especially those that looked like they can glow in the dark – and these products proved to be a disaster.

Turkey Hill, in my opinion one of the best ice creams on the market, has decided to follow the Heinz debacle – or maybe just hired that brand manager? – who knows, but starting in January their limited-edition Mystery Flavor is hitting supermarket shelves. They are also running a contest for what they call flavor detectives, to win free ice cream for life. The contest launches on Dec 31 and runs through March 14, 2022. Wait a minute – if I can go to my supermarket and buy the Mystery Flavor starting in January – how much of a flavor detective do I need to be? I don’t get it. It the flavor that obscure, that after trying it I can’t figure it out? And the real question in today’s world of scores of ice cream flavors from the likes of Ben Jerry’s and Haggen Dazs with consumers being more particular about their foods than ever, and more kids with food allergies, why would they buy a mystery flavor? The package image that they sent me does not proclaim no artificial colors or ingredients – and didn’t contain an ingredient or nutritional facts package. The most shocking revelation is that they are calling it a “frozen dairy desert” so it isn’t even ice cream. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick to a flavor that I enjoy, and I know what’s inside the carton.

What about you? Would you buy it?