Mayonnaise eggnog? Here’s why brands still gamble on wacky food promotions
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The largest mayonnaise producer in the country really wants you to replace the eggs in your holiday nog with … mayo. Sounds kind of off-putting, but the suggestion also has us talking about Hellmann’s. So we looked into why food companies throw these “interesting” ideas out there, and what kind of return it actually brings.
Mayonnaise eggnog is certainly not the first, shall we say, unconventional marketing ploy from a food brand. Keith Nunes is editor of Food Business News, and has a list of favorites:
“The Oscar Meyer cold dog, which is a hot dog flavored popsicle,” he said. “The Cheetos Flamin’ Hot ice cream; Kraft mac and cheese ice cream; Turkey and gravy soda … “
That last one — a Thanksgiving special — comes from Jones Soda, a relatively small beverage company. And although it probably turned some customers off, David Feder at BNP Media’s Prepared Foods Network, said the opposite was also true.
“It turned out to be an unexpected seasonal hit, plus, put Jones Soda on the map,” he said.
With all of these unconventional flavors and confections, Feder said, ultimately it’s about being part of the conversation that consumers are having.
“But at the same time, it’s, you know, it’s a significant gamble,” said Danny Jensen, managing editor for Cheapism.com, which maintains a running list of wacky food promotions. “It can backfire and sort of come off as like … just done for the sake of publicity, or … just kind of sour the perception of the brand.”
But it also gives salespeople something new to say about an established product, said Ed McLaughlin at Cornell University.
“Imagine the dilemma of these food manufacturers who have to show up every month or every quarter, and they say to the supermarket buyer, ‘Well, we have nothing going on this quarter, I just hope you buy more of our products,'” McLaughlin said.
He added beyond selling more mayonnaise, marketing stunts like this really are about creating a bit of buzz — you know, with stories like this one.
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