Starbucks has brewed up a new alternative to coffee or sugary energy drinks- Starbucks Refreshers. Made with green coffee extract, can these beverages give consumers the light afternoon buzz they crave? And will they be one of 2012’s Most Memorable New Product Launches?
People say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but many products are judged by their packing. The right wrapper can help make a product a success. In the past year, new designs were launched for products and Pauline Hammerbeck of Brand Packaging has chosen a few she thinks could be* in Schneider Associate’s 2011 Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey.
In the Fall of 2010, Bolthouse launched a new marketing campaign for their Baby Carrots snack. The campaign, “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food,” used brand packaging resembling that of “junk food” you usually find in a vending machine. With a crinkly plastic bag, bright colored labels, and characters on the packaging geared toward children, Baby Carrots caught the attention of many. This new packaging dispels some of the stigma surrounding healthy snacks, and allows it to compete with chips and candy.
Starbucks Logo Redesign
With its debut this past January, Starbucks redesigned the look of their logo for the third time in their 40 year history. Keeping the green iconic Siren, the company has dropped the circle around her that read “Starbucks Coffee.” Although the change has spawned some backlash from loyal Starbucks consumers, the company sees it as a marking of a milestone in their history. The Siren has stayed with the company since they first started out as a small coffee shop in Portland, Oregon, but as the company grew, it was time to update the logo with a more clean and modern look.
Diet Coke Limited Edition Can
Marking the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola, it was a no brainer that the company was going to come out with a redesigned can. This September, Coca-Cola launched a new limited edition Diet Coke can. Although the temporary design keeps the traditional bare aluminum background, the letters D and K are blown-up so the lettering bleeds off the can, which has a sleek, clean, and modern look. Although they are a limited edition, it is unknown how long they will be available in stores.
Kraft Mac & Cheese Redesign
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has come out with a new, happier packaging and marketing strategy with the “noodle smile.” At the beginning of this year, Kraft rolled out the new boxes that feature the smile along with updated typography, shapes, colors, and patterns. Although the redesign is a drastic change from their previous box, Kraft still retained the key elements that consumers associate with the brand, which research showed to be happiness, smiles, and joy. Kraft also wanted to create packaging that unified the different macaroni and cheese products. As a result, the noodle smile was born.
Puma’s Clever Little Bag
Puma is out to change the world with its revolutionary “clever little bag.” Puma has created a way to package their shoes without using any boxes at all. It’s a known fact that shoeboxes account for millions of tons of waste each year. Puma’s goal was to find a way to create a shoe package that was environmentally friendly. Twenty-one months and 40 prototypes later, Puma unveiled the new clever little bag – recycled paperboard box-like inserts, which are held in place by a 20 percent polypropylene bag. According to the Puma website, the reusable bag contains 65 percent less paper and reduces water, energy, and diesel consumption during manufacturing by over 60 percent a year. Puma claims the design will save 8,500 tons of paper per year, millions of liters of water and fuel, and 275 tons of plastic a year. Smart move, Puma.
Sharpie Redesign and Rebranding
Last summer, Sharpie announced their decision to rebrand itself with a new campaign that promotes self-expression. New commercials and ads feature Sharpie fans using the markers to make their own artistic creations. Sharpie has also redesigned their website and their packaging, showcasing funky artwork created with Sharpies, unlike the previous packaging that looked very utilitarian and clean cut. With 15 types of markers in an assortment of colors, Sharpie’s new campaign strategy is an effective way to reach an audience of creative people looking for a way to express themselves.
*Not all products chosen by the MMNPL expert panelists are guaranteed to be included in the MMNPL survey due to our rigorous criteria for selecting new products.
In August 2009, Trident introduced a new gum experience with the launch of Trident Layers. Six months later in February 2010, AMP Energy introduced an alternative to the morning cup of coffee, Amp Gum. Despite sharing a product category, the two gum brands differed in both their creations and marketing strategies. The new Trident Layers consists of three layers that form a gum sandwich. According to the Executive Vice President of Cadbury America, Lesya Lysyi, the new Trident Layers “…breaks the mold of current category paradigms of form and flavor.” On the other end of the spectrum, AMP Energy introduced AMP Energy Gum; a citrus “on-the-go” gum that packs the energy equivalent of an 8-ounce energy drink into just two small pieces.
Amp and Trident implemented two different marketing strategies. Trident Layers spent their $10MM budget with JWT New York, and launched a humorous campaign in traditional media, including a TV ad where the babysitter agrees to be compensated with Trident Layers Gum. Trident Layers also accompanied the New York Yankees in their winning parade, layering fans’ faces with paint mimicking the new layers. Finally, Trident leveraged social media by taking an ad in USA Today that displayed their positive reviews from consumers on Twitter.
Amp Energy Gum, on the other hand, maintained its marketing focus on high energy sports. Amp sponsored both snowboarding and NASCAR events and endorsed Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR driver. The Amp Web site is filled with behind the scenes video footage showing both consumers and athletes racing cars, snowboarding and having a good time. They also created several online communities like AmpUpthe88.com and AmpEnergyNation.com, where bands, students and sports fans interact. Amp’s advertising included radio, digital and gas station ads, as well as extensive grassroots and event sampling.
With timelines and marketing campaigns so divergent, it’s questionable whether Trident and AMP are even competing for the same consumers. While one is investing in broad marketing to a wide consumer base, the other is aligning with NASCAR fans and snowboarding enthusiasts. It’s certain that in today’s micro-niche-marketing environment, both can sustain sales with different customer segments, but it will be interesting to see if the novel idea of an ‘energy’ gum garners attention from a broader group than originally targeted (so far we’ve only seen Jolt gum and some lesser known brands marketing a product like this). A caffeine/energy boost at a moment’s notice certainly is an attractive sell. One thing goes without saying: if Amp succeeds beyond expectations, copycats are sure to follow.
In a time of job cuts and home foreclosures, a $4.00 latte is one indulgence that some Americans are willing to forgo. Although Starbucks’ premium lattes are what made the coffee shop famous, the premium prices are now hurting its profits.
Competition with places that sell cheaper coffee, such as Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds, has pushed Starbucks in the direction of more affordable beverages.
Starbucks plans to launch its new line of instant coffee, Starbucks Via, next week. Although the launch was supposed to be kept secret until February 17, executives leaked the story to Advertising Age, and now it’s appearing everywhere, from blogs to Fortune magazine, to the Wall Street Journal.
According to Fortune, stores will begin selling Starbucks Via, which is powdered coffee that just needs hot water, as early as next month. The product will be sold in packets that come in packages of three for $2.95 or 12 for $9.95. As a result, consumers will be able to have a cup of Starbucks coffee for under $1.00.
If the taste is the same as regular Starbucks coffee, Starbucks may have created one of the most memorable products of 2009. If the taste isn’t comparable to its original brew, the product will disappear.
Unfortunately, many people have negative biases against instant coffee that may discourage them from trying Via. A Wall Street Journal article explains, to counter the problem, Starbucks went through hundreds of versions to replicate its signature brewed coffee taste and plans to heavily push samples to consumers. In addition to sampling, it will be interesting to see how Starbucks positions and promotes this new product launch.
Will an inexpensive, instant version of America’s favorite luxury coffee sell? Or will people continue to indulge on their more expensive favorites? Does this campaign require re-educating consumers about the great taste of instant coffee?