If bread is just a vehicle for getting butter in your mouth, if you’re more addicted to caramel macchiato than you are caffeine, if the veggies are something you put up with to get the dip, then the latest marketing idea from Heinz is sure to hit the spot.
This past July, Heinz celebrated National French Fry Day with the introduction of “Spoon Friez,” a molded potato spoon designed to help make the most of everyone’s favorite condiment.
Achieving the exact right dollop-to-fry ratio is in the eye of the beholder (or tongue of the betaster, as it were) but Heinz determined that for most French fry consumers, the general desire is for more ketchup-per-bite.
Should you just add this to the list of ridiculous brand stunts or is this a marketing idea that could inspire your own strategy?
Thinking Outside the Box
Heinz’s Spoon Friez were limited to the winners of a raffle in the U.K., but you can’t see the uniquely-shaped fries without imagining the taste of a tiny spoonful of Heinz ketchup hitting your tongue, followed by crisp, potato flavor. It’s pretty effective at getting your mind on Heinz.
Maybe you’re already hammering your product into a spoon shape, but it’s likely that getting outside of your box looks pretty different than it does for Heinz.
Think About What Annoys Your Customers. When you think about your marketing plans, you often hear that you’re supposed to focus in on pain points. For instance, Heinz has put a lot of thought into their packaging and making it convenient for consumers to use ketchup at home and on the go. That’s addressing a pain point.
Annoyance is different. It says something like, “I love that I can have that yummy Heinz ketchup with my fries but it is hard to get the fry-to-ketchup ratio just right. I think I like the ketchup even better than the fries.”
What’s annoying in your industry? Is it having to buy a big quantity of something when a customer would rather have a sampler variety of your product? Or maybe your packaging offers a great pump option, but there’s always unused product at the bottom of a non-recyclable bottle.
Now is the Time for Humor. When you detect a little annoyance and then create a funny solution, your audience feels seen by your brand. It’s a little reminder that there are real people behind your brand and that you see your customers as real people, too.
In some industries, the trick is to be so absurd that your marketing can’t be mistaken for something serious. For instance, an auto shop could offer “Tire rotation, now with Vitamin C!” during cold and flu season. Or a lawn care company could trumpet their new scented grass feature, with the only option for scents being “fresh-cut grass.”
Try a Promotion
Thinking outside the box can get beyond pranks and attention-getting marketing. Not that there isn’t value in giving your customers a chuckle, but you don’t have to stop there. Consider a promotion that meets their needs:
- At back-to-school time, skip the boring pencils and give away lunchbox ice packs, wooden rulers or cool keychains perfect for the outside of a backpack.
- When gas or groceries prices are high, do a gift card giveaway.
- During the holidays, offer a raffle with prizes like two hours of gift-wrapping, outdoor light-hanging services or a catered meal.
Host a One-of-a-Kind Event
Building awareness for your brand can spur some out-of-the-box marketing ideas. Try one of these unique events:
- Host a giant board game night. Ask a few handy team members or friends to construct life-size versions of Jenga, Battleship and Checkers. Invite a few food trucks and you’ve got a party.
- Hatch a crowd of butterflies from a kit. Then invite the community to a butterfly-themed party on the day of the anticipated release. This springtime, kid-friendly event could include butterfly-shaped cookies, sidewalk chalk coloring contests and butterfly face painting.
Have Fun Online
When everyone’s 2020 brackets were suddenly sunk because of the pandemic cancellation of March Madness, SJC Marketing created a fun alternative to keep things positive. A Facebook candy bracket created new divisions, exposed people’s passion for their favorite treat and kept the conversation going about something positive.
What kind of fun poll or contest could you create in your social media marketing? Maybe you have a new company pet that requires a name or you’ve had an ongoing debate in the office about where you can buy the best donuts in town.
Thinking outside the box comes with some potential pitfalls. Your joke could miss or you could simply go unnoticed. But you will never know if you don’t try! Contact us to get started!