Monday, 16 February 2015

Stretch Selling the Shrovetide Season #Jif Lemon #Ferrero and all that Mardi Gras business

"Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets." Baltasar Gracian 1601-1658

No sooner have the Retail and Horeca  sectors (Hotels, Restaurants and Catering) enjoyed the lift in sales of  Valentine season, this year we move straight into the period of Shrovetide thanks to the vagaries of lunar timetables.

Squeezing  a season for every last drop helps leverage further sales.

Despite there being over six years to go until Easter some of the Supermarket shelves are loaded up with chocolate Easter eggs.

The next mini retail event is Pancake Day.

It’s day that provides a spike in sales of a design classic the plastic  Jif lemon. Fat Tuesday ( Mardi Gras) offers a boon for the batter mixes,  eggs and flour, the various toppings nowadays and for traditionalists lemon juice and sugar.

It’s a day when for once , ‘buying a lemon’ has a positive  nuance.

Creative packaging can become as much the ‘product’ as the product itself. So it is in the case of the story behind the Jif lemon.

Design classic Jif lemons
The plastic lemon container and the idea of selling lemon juice in this way was dreamy up by Stanley Wagner, a former RAF fighter pilot.

 His plastic lemon was made by a company in the telephone business, Shipton
 Over the course of a ten-month period from mid-1955 to early 1956 more than six million of these lemons were sold, initially under the brand name "Realemon" and then after an objection by the then Board of Trade the name was changed to "ReaLem" and marketed with the slogan "juice in a jiffy".

Reckitt and Colman approached Stanley Wagner to buy the business and after a very long negotiation a deal was concluded. A letter from Barclays Bank dated 21 June 1956 reads " Dear Mr Wagner, I have pleasure in enclosing two copies of the Draft for £......... credited to your account, which the Bank will be pleased if you will accept as a souvenir of this most successful transaction.

Conventional packaging of lemon juice had been ( and still remains) in little glass bottles.
Now part of  Unilever  the plastic Jif lemon  is still going strong. The design offer a unique differentiation.

Some might remember the TV ad classic “ Don’t forget the pancake on Jif lemon juice day”

The pancake toppings sector continues to grow. This year Nutella, the chocolate hazel nut spread, are running pancake day campaign.

 Sadly the founder of the business Ferrero died this Valentine’s day 2015. Billionaire Michele Ferrero, whose global chocolate empire made him Italy's richest man, he was aged 89.

Like Jif’s Stanley Wagner, Ferrero knew the importance of packaging a product to help differentiate it from the competition. Whether its the gold foil wrapped ‘ambassador’s choice’ of chocolates Ferrero Rocher , the individually wrapped Raffaello, the handily packaged Tic Tac mints  or Kinder Eggs, the packaging sells and differentiates the product. 

In the lead-up to Pancake Day on Tuesday, 17th February 2015 , Nutella has launched a £1.4m integrated campaign.

Carrying the strapline of ‘Pancakes love Nutella’, the activity will kick off at the start of February and will feature a standalone Pancake Day TV ad which will show families enjoying the occasion, plus nationwide out of home advertising, radio, digital, social media and breakthrough in-store display solutions

And the future ?

Maybe the Ferrero business or their creative agents might dream a plastic giant hazelnut to squeeze  or a plastic cute squirrel ( “Squirt Simon-the-squirrel on pancake day” ) containing the chocolate spread. Perhaps the offering will include an ecologically responsible 5p donation to the Red Squirrel reintroduction project on Mersea Island.

For sure ,packaging and product development will go on a pace whatever.

A  syndrome that Balthazar Gracian would have recognised back in 15th   Century Spain.

Don't forget the Fry Light this pancake night

Sampling at Waterloo Station Morning on Pancake Day 2015

Sampling at Waterloo Station 8 pm on Pancake Day

Related Links

Where does marketing end and selling begin ?

Links  to other Marketing and Selling wisdom from Balthazar Gracian

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