The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Don’t Innovate, Simulate …
December 14, 2009, 6:30 am
Filed under: Comment

So it’s nearly Christmas … that time of year where companies put out all sorts of tat in the knowledge that for much of society, as soon as December 1 strikes, their nerves become a frazzled wreck and their judgement goes up their arse.

I was going to write this post and link it to the planning philosophy I’m finalising/writing up – devious strategy – but I can’t be arsed plus this isn’t really a good example because it’s more about ‘cheating people’ rather than engaging them for a different reason than the brand really represents.

God I’m sounding like ‘one of them’ aren’t I!

Thank god we have a break coming up so I can wash my mouth out with acid.

So anyway, back to the post.

Being a ‘new age’ kinda guy, I was at the supermarket with Mrs C jnr [ie: Jill, my wife] when she spotted this …


Yep, an overpriced Lindt Chocolate Christmas Reindeer!

To be honest, that wasn’t very surprising, because where chocolate is concerned my wife can spot a smartie at 500 meters – however what we did find interesting is that the ‘chocolate reindeer’ seemed suspiciously shaped like the Lindt Chocolate Easter Bunny.

Could they be infact the same choccie, just with a bit packed onto the end and some different outer wrapping?

I tell you, those ears/antlers look very similar and then there’s the fact we’ve never seen Mr Bunny and Mr Reindeer in the same room at the same time have we???

Something tells me those cheeky Swiss war prospering bastards, have cheaply re-hashed their Easter Bunny offering so they can cash in on Christmas with minimal effort … and I say fair bloody dues to them.

I’ve written before how innovation can be one of the easiest ways to pour money down the drain and whilst I’m all for progression and pushing boundaries, at times of ‘seasonal gifting’ – unless you have something amazingly new to offer – it is maybe better to accept you’ll make as much money from ‘adapting’ your offering as you would developing something entirely new.

Saying that, I still believe a key issue for many brands is that too many of them follow this approach most of the time – even if they claim they’re being innovative – but given the last time I pointed this out, I ended up having a major blog debate, I think I will shut up because it’s nearly Christmas and if I don’t earn some good karma points in the next few days, all I’m going to get from Santa is a great big smack in the gob.

12 Comments so far
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Apart from the legs and the elongated body, it could be identical. But it isn’t. It’s a seasonal product extension with no great claims being made about difference. The point’s legitimate, the example isn’t. After all, you wouldn’t complain about fizzy dinks with different flavours at different times of the year.

Comment by John

Of course you’re right Mr Dodds and god bless you for it …

Believe it or not, I did really know the reindeer/bunny were marginally different [but only marginally] and I appreciate the importance of tactical programs around gifting periods … hell, I even raise a glass to companies who can drive profits by identifying a new utilisation of one of their older products [ask me about the concept we put to Apple for the iPOD when it first launched] … however I do find it quite horrifying how many companies re-package the same old thing then claim it is ‘BRAND NEW’ when fundamentally it performs the same job, in the same way, in the same role, targeting the same people.

Of course I understand why companies do it … I just wish they’d not ‘big talk’ it so much.

Comment by Rob

I’ve just realised there would be certain brand managers I know who would claim that a Reindeer/Bunny shaped chocolate bar would indicate the flavour of the chocolate would be Reindeer or Bunny. What makes these people turn so bloody literal?

Planners and consultants no doubt.

Comment by Rob

I want chocolate now. Who said subliminal advertising didn’t work?

Comment by DH

I don’t think anyone said subliminal advertising didn’t work did they? Or maybe I did? Mind you, there’s a massive difference between subliminal and just plain post rationalised which is what some indulgent agencies try and do… but eitherway, I don’t think this post is very subliminal given I talk openly about bloody chocolate. But I get your drift. I think.

Comment by Rob

I’ve read a couple of the previous posts you’ve referenced and I think your point about being the first to do something not necessarily meaning you’ll have the lion share is a great one. Or to put it differently, if you can’t do it first, do it better! (I forgot who I stole this off)

And I think it’s even more relevant for internet companies/websites/applications/whatever. Google was far from being the first search engine. Same goes for Facebook and social networks. Even apps like Foursquare cherry picked from the best functions previous similar-ish applications had to make a better product.

That said, I still think there’s a huge benefit in being the first to do something that’s really innovative (As long as there’s a benefit in what you’re doing obviously). Because even if someone comes in and does it better for whatever reason, your failure is likely to have been a pretty successful one.

Comment by rafik

You’re right Rafik … the problem with it is that too many marketers think the value/quality of the product doesn’t matter as long as they can lay claim to being the first to do it, hence communication promoting all manner of ‘firsts’ … from green tomato sauce through to quadruple stacked burgers.

It’s lazy innovation and marketing – and whilst R&D is extremely risky and expensive – if they stopped focusing just on product insights and embraced culture [for example] they would stand a real chance to develop something that infiltrated life, not just the category shelf.

Comment by Rob

With minimal effort, they could call it the Lindt chocolate sheep and exploit the Australian/Kiwi market?

Comment by Bazza

Reuse before you recycle.

Comment by Chris

The real sublimity here is the way they make the reindeer remind you of the rabbit and vice versa. It’s not cost-cutting, it’s genius marketing. Perhaps.

Comment by John

It’s still overpriced shit isn’t it.

Comment by Billy Whizz

it doesnt look like a reindeer. at least it s smiling. the bunny looks like it knows whats going to happen to it.
john might have a point. though, i d like to think it s just due to production things and machine settings… the gold and the bow etc should be enough to trigger buying lindt for christmas too i guess.

Comment by peggy

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