Thursday, August 19, 2010

The "SuperSized" Economy; There is no "value added."

We're headed for more bad economic times. It's not a question as if we're asking, "Are we headed for more economic hardships?" It's a fact. We are. And here's why.
We're headed for more bad times because there's no way to "add value" to the economy the way marketers "add value" to soft drinks by replacing sugar with cheaper high fructose corn syrup. The economy is chock full of artificial ingredients and the only way to return to solid ground is to subtract the "value added" components of the economy that got us in self-induced trouble in the first place.

For example, General Mills "added value" to Wheaties in the 80s by replacing "whole wheat" with non-descript "whole grain." As consumer pull-through diminished retailers began delisting the brand. General Mills had hoped no one would notice the change the same way no one noticed when Coke replaced sugar with HFCS - consumers just drank more because Coke could sell larger quantities (20 ounce bottles vesus 12) for fractions of a cent more. Supersizing was a great way to get a larger share of stomach. But it didn't work with Wheaties. General Mills never gave consumers more product for just a little more money. That was Steve Sanger's fault as inextricably linked to companies such as ADM and Cargill as he is. By repositioning the brand as "whole wheat" again Wheaties increased distribution 24% and won Advertising Age Magazine's recognition as "The Year's Best Repositioned Brand.

The bottom line here is that we've already "SuperSized" the economy the same way McDonald's "supersized us. We found out it was unhealthy. Food scientists are just wonderful.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

California Governor's Election - Let's Delist The Candidates

Who do you vote for when there's no one to vote for? The front runner is front runner simply by means of having the largest budget. She has no political experience outside of the CEO and corporate ladder's suite. The other two ... well ... they're the other two candidates. So what would happen if everyone meaning the popular voters simply did not take part in the election? What if we vote for no one? I know voting is a right and a duty. That makes it more than a privledge. But what does one do when their is no choice and your choice is simply the lesser of three evils? Like a delisted brand in a grocery store voters should delist the products by not voting and blindly following the herd on election day. If we keep doing what we've always done we're going to keep getting what we've always got ... and that's not good for Californians. Are we waiting for newspapers to proclaim THE POLITICAL CRISIS the same way American's had to await for someone to tell them they were creating an economic crisis. Let's start thinking for ourselves people. If anything, vote for someone who's not running. Vote for the reluctant candidate. The guy that really doesn't want the office. Shucks, vote for yourself as a write in candidate What would happen if 36,961,664 voted for themselves? Wouldn't THAT send an appropriate message? What was that line in the movie "Network?" "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Monday, July 12, 2010

What business are you really in?

My friend Ray Baird is President of RiechesBaird, one of the world's top B2B ad agencies. Ray publishes a great blog called GigaBrand. Go there. Ray always asks great questions like "What business are you really in?" Now Ray focuses on technology, and in this case he's focussing on ERP technology.  Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an integrated computer-based system used to manage internal and external resources including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. It is a software architecture whose purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. Built on a centralized database and normally utilizing a common computing platform, ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise wide system environment.

So it's easy to see why Ray asks this question. ERP can easily become a commodity. Now Ray argues that mispositioning can put you in the wrong category and thus retard sales, buyer perception and hence PROFIT. But I say if you sell technology you sell that technology. iPads are selling iPads. If you're selling corneal transplants you're selling corneal transplants. If you're selling ERP you're selling ERP. But look at iPads. As a category they may be the emerging thin clients cloud computing's been wanting to make popular. In the end all human/technology interfaces will be thin clients. But you're still selling iPads. That's your category even though iPads are mostly used for fun. Now that you're in the category, the question is differentiating yourself within the category. Here's what I said.

Exactly Ray, Toss out all quadrant or matrix position systems quant jocks employ. They’ll throw any product, company, brand or category off track because it gives brands nothing they can own or use to differentiate. This is how categories become composed of highly price driven commodities in every category. So we discovered a company, product, brand or category’s reason-for-being best defined by finding it’s Special User Effect.

As General Motor’s proved, you can target exciting fun family products (Pontiac), versus family value products (Chevrolet) but GM killed Pontiac. It’s matrix quadrant was irrelevant to car buyers even though corporate strategy thought it viable. In reality, the division never knew what consumers wanted. It just made what they wanted then told advertising we needed it. That’s bass ackwards. The Pontiac Division never had a “consumer” reason-for-being. Same with brands I turned around like Folgers or Pampers. Though heralded as the second coming of CHrist by quant jocks and market research consumers perceived pre-ground convenience, flavor and aroma as “me-too” cost-of-entry sensory parameters so the agency direction of “Mountain Grown” to support the contention that Folgers was the richest kind of coffee NEVER moved the needle even though my client spent $100 million that year domestically to support the message. The SPECIAL USER EFFECT we found was “stimulation.” Stimulation was a “brand ownable” differentiator versus the “category generic” sales drivers of ‘convenience’, ‘flavor’, and ‘aroma’. To the 23% of heavy users who account for 87% of category volume annually “the best part of [their] waking up is caffiene [Folgers] in their cup.” To them, Folgers is in THE STIMULATION business. With this insight we turned a $300 million brand into a $1.6 billion business by stealing all that share from Maxwell House, MJB & Hills Bros who could not take off their matrix driven “category consumption” blinders. Great post Ray Man. So is the real question, "How should an ERP client best differentiate themselves in a highly price-driven commodity category."

By the way, was speaking to Kraft’s Beverage President Bob Levi who oversees Maxwell House for Kraft Foods. Though he knows all this he still just launched a new flavor and aroma campaign that bounced off the market like spit wads fired at an M1 Abrahms Tank. No impact against the 47 to 14 share lead stimulation gave Folgers…and only Starbucks once came close to hitting our competitive strategy on the head with their “Think Earlier” campaign. Anyway, the same thinking works regardless of what business you’re in.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How do you tell a brand's story? Marketing: Is your brand telling a great story or telling a story greatly?

How do you tell a brand's story?

Contrary to popular belief most brands tell a great story. At least that's what they believe. In reality they're telling a story greatly. What's the difference? Well, brands that tell stories greatly tend to say the same thing their rival does ... their advertising agency just says it differently. Brands that tell great stories have identified a product based selling dimension that dramatically differentiates themselves from competitors.

What are examples of brands that tell their stories greatly? Well, any category composed of heavily price driven commodity brands such as alcohol (beer, wine, ale, spirits), paper (paper towels, bath tissue, disposable diapers, napkins) or personal care products (shampoos, conditioners, oral care, etc.) ... some of the largest categories in consumer products utilize positioning strategies that converge on the same position as their rival ... they just have ad agencies that say the same thing differently. Detergents all claim to clean better and faster. All alcoholic beverages address the need state "to party" or "to relax." There isn't a single toothpaste (sensitive teeth being the exception) that doesn't trade on one of the five category attributes that account for all consumer perceptions in oral care - whitening, cavity prevention, breath care, gum care and tartar control. Year after year the message gets stale and only updated with new copy and actors ... not product based differentiators. Consequently, their ad spending drives category consumption rather than brand selection - ergo the saying, " I know that at least half of my advertising budget works ... I just don't know which half."

What are examples of brands that tell a great story? Well, Pampers recognized that 'fit' and 'dryness' were generic category cost of entry story parameters. Identifying an infant and toddler's 'development' finally enabled Pampers Phases Developmental Diapers to grow the business (ownable by Pampers) rather than the category by $1.2 billion per year for a decade, better relate to the emotional rewards of parenting and arrest toddler migration to arch rival Kimberly-Clark's Pull Ups. And for a fraction of the previous brand budget. Just one word, "development" made all the difference.

Now that's telling a great story, not telling a story greatly.

Another example of using a product-based selling dimension for the first time no one has seen to tell a great story? Back in the day the big three GRC (Ground Roast Coffee) brands - Maxwell House, Folgers and Hills Bros/MJB all thought people bought their product for convenience, flavor and aroma. Not true. These "me too" cost of entry parameters did not enable the brands to connect with their customer's lifestyles. For example, New Englanders did not spend their Sunday mornings with the New York Times and Maxwell House because of the brand's flavor and aroma. They bought the brand because the best part of their waking up is/was caffiene in their cup. The active product based selling dimension is 'stimulation' not flavor or aroma. This realization turned $300 million Folgers into a $1.6 billion brand and left Maxwell House standing in the dust.

Not long ago I was speaking with a Kraft Foods Marketing Director running the Gevalia Business. He wanted to know if I had any coffee experience. The conversation ended with his exclamation, "So you're the son of a bitch that did that to Maxwell House!" "You need to speak with Bob Levi." Bob is President of Kraft Foods Beverage Business. Having called Bob he listened then said, "Well I've been working for Kraft 22 years and I've never heard of you." And I said, "Well I've been working for Kraft for 35 years and I've never heard of you either. Would you like to hear what I've worked on at Kraft?" He "harumphed" and said I'd never worked at Kraft. I guess he'd better go ask, Karen Scott, Eric Strobel, Bob Morrison, and about 50 other functional line management and C-suite execs who welcomed me to the company to work on their brands. Needless to say I wasn't going to get a chance to work on Maxwell House or for Bob Levi though I've been pitching Maxwell House for about 40 years. Then I saw new advertising for Maxwell House. Same flavor and aroma crap. Bob Levi was so busy putting up walls and protecting his turf he hadn't heard a thing I said.

Now that's telling a great story. Not telling a story greatly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Forbes Columnist Sramana Mitra features OraQuel on April 15's 1M/1M Strategy Round Table

Forbes Columnist Sramana Mitra covered my OraQuel and OraQuel's Heart Smart Oral Care positioing on her weekly 1M/1M Strategy Roundtable April 15. I was honored to be selected as the show's opening presenter. Sramana's counsel is that OraQuel is essentially on track and that we need to keep doing what we are doing. Take a listen to the broadcast here. Listen to April 15's Round Table. We like her! Follow up: We were informed that the OraQuel segmant of the broadcast generated more public chat during the chat live segment of the show than any other Round Table business covered to date. That makes us happy too!

About Sramana Mitra

1M/1M Strategy Roundtables for Entrepreneurs

As part of the 1M/1M initiative, Sramana Mitra offers free weekly online strategy roundtables for entrepreneurs looking to discuss positioning, financing, and other aspects of a startup venture. Up to 1,000 people can attend each session, but only the first five who register to pitch will be able to present their business ideas. All attendees are able to join in on the conversations via a live chat.

Sramana Mitra has been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994. Her fields of experience span from hard core technology disciplines like semiconductors to sophisticated consumer marketing industries including fashion and education. Her current focus, however, is primarily in the realms of Web 3.0 and Enterprise 3.0, and related infrastructure. She has a particular interest in Media and Retail companies and their transition to a Web-centric world.

As an entrepreneur CEO, Sramana founded 3 companies: Dais (Off-shore Software Services), Intarka (Sales Lead Generation and Qualification Software; VC: NEA) and Uuma (Online Personalized Store for selling clothes using Expert Systems software; VC: Redwood). Two of these were acquired, while the third received an acquisition offer from Ralph Lauren which the company did not accept.

As strategy consultant, Sramana has consulted with over 70 companies, including public companies like SAP, Cadence Design Systems, Webex, KLA-Tencor, Tessera, Mercado Libre among others. Her work has also included numerous startups and VCs, and she played Interim VP Marketing roles for 7 such ventures. Sramana has a proven track-record in turn-arounds, both small private companies and divisions of larger companies. She has also created major growth strategies through new market penetration, M&A, Industry Roll-ups, etc.

Writings from Sramana’s popular strategy blog are syndicated by Seeking Alpha, Yahoo! Finance, PaidContent, ReadWriteWeb, Cadwire, Emergic, GigaOm, and many other high traffic online business, finance, and technology publishers. Sramana is also a colmnist for Forbes and the author of Entrepreneur Journeys (Volume One).

Sramana has a Masters degree in EECS from MIT and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Economics from Smith College.

Specialties- Positioning.

- Strategic Planning Programs.

- Product strategy, Market strategy, Channel strategy, M&A, Funding, and Exit strategy.

- Business Development, Deal structuring, Negotiation, Opening and Closing deals.

- Communication, Category Creation, Media/Analyst/Investor/Customer/Team facing Messaging.

- Fund raising.

- M&A Deals.

- Turnarounds.

- Strategic Re-engineering and Catalyzing Change.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Official Google Blog: A different kind of company name

A nice test of brand elasticity. Official Google Blog: A different kind of company name

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

OraQuel Toothbrush Sterilizer versus VioLight, DenTek and SonicCare UV (ultra violet) Toothbrush Sterilizers

Ten years ago people scoffed at the notion that links existed between oral infection and heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Now everyone from the American Heart Association to the American Dental Association talk about the onset of plaque and tartar buildup leading to childhood gingivitis leading to heart attack later in life as fact. Eighty-four percent of Americans fail to remove plaque and tartar from our teeth while brushing. This leads to unseen and unfelt gingivitis and according to the American Heart Association the arteries in 72% of heart attack victims are blocked by oral plaque; not cholesterol and fat as all the big pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.

So I'm a big fan of products that draw attention to these facts. Back in the 50's and 60's when I was a child we all gathered around the TV on Sunday evenings to watch Bonanza, Disney (with Walt) and the Ed Sullivan Show. We were all told by advertising to get great dental check ups and to prevent cavities with Crest. Then more oral care brands decided they wanted a share of our toothbrushing occasions and decided that we'd brush our teeth to whiten and brighten, freshen our breath, prevent cavities, take care of our gums and eliminate tartar. And that's the way we've been brushing our teeth for the last 30 years. The current category leader, Colgate Total, took the top spot away from Crest long ago by putting all of these category attributes under one umbrella - theirs. So nothing's changed much right?! Wrong!

There's a new battle for oral care supremacy and it all has to do with providing "Heart Smart Oral Care" as touted by OraQuel; the leading brand in the toothbrush sterilizer segment. Toothbrush sterilizers!? Yes don't get me wrong. Apart from killing germs on a toothbrush toothbrush sterilizers are promoting awareness for the need to change our oral care habits and practices. Now most companies do what they can do. If you are an appliance manufacturer then you want to jump into this game with a toothbrush sterilization appliance - but toothbrush sterilization appliances have a lot of drawbacks: 1) the category (sales) action isn't in killing germs, 2) appliances are expensive, 3) appliances are unable to remove solids like toothpaste residue, food, mucus, blood or tartar that rinsing with water leaves behind, 4) and if I remember from my Gillette Hot Foamy Shave Machine Days - people don't want another appliance cluttering hard-to-keep-clean bathroom countertops that collect water and soap scum stains, hair and anything else.

So why is OraQuel different - or better - than the VioLight, Dentek, SonicCare (UV - ultra violet units) and the steam driven Germ Terminator? Well, usage has to be "interactive" to change consumer habits and practices on a large scale. OraQuel isn't an appliance, it's a spray - and when you (especially children) spray OraQuel on a dirty toothbrush it foams to tell you it's working. Kids love to see it work. So children with OraQuel in the house tend to brush their teeth as much as 33% more often and 20% longer. Delivered to the Good Housekeeping Institute in late 2003, OraQuel won the affection of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Director and staff who all took bottles home for their families. OraQuel was tapped as 2004's Best New Product for Product Innovation in Oral Care.

So how does OraQuel protect your heart? Well, by brushing more often and longer, children do a better job removing the plaque and tartar that promotes gingivitis and that heart attack later in life. Appliances don't generate that type of consumer interest, involvement and excitement (interaction). :) Also, and perhaps more importantly, wetting your toothbrush with OraQuel prior to brushing boosts any toothpaste's ability to cut through that film of plaque and tartar that formed on your teeth overnight while you slept (morning mouth), or during the day while you work. So I put my money where my mouth is and bought OraQuel. Beyond removing plaque, tartar and germs that reinfect every time a toothbrush enters your mouth OraQuel is "Heart Smart Oral Care." I like the company's slogan/positioning. No one else targets this territory.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Germ Terminator Versus OraQuel Pro Oral Health Toothbrush Cleaner

If there's anything I learned during my days working with personal care companies such as Gillette and Oral-B it's that no one wants another "appliance" cluttering hard to keep clean bathroom counter tops. So along comes the Germ Terminator, yet another appliance, that harkens back to the day of those old Gillette Hot Foamy shaving machines. Appliances tend to cost more, and once you put them away because company's coming you forget to get them back out and use them. And no one would want to buy a used toothbrush cleaning appliance at a garage sale.

Now I don't have a problem with the idea of promoting a clean toothbrush. Afterall, we tell our kids to wash their hands several times everyday and those guys over at Purell have made themselves a nifty fortune with their hand sanitizer. But hey! Isn't there a better way to clean your toothbrush. I mean it needs to be done. You wouldn't eat breakfast with a fork or spoon you only licked clean after dinner, right?

OraQuel Pro Oral Health Oxygenating Toothbrush Cleaner is an engaging and interactive easy-to-use spray. What makes OraQuel so engaging and interactive is the fact that it foams when you spray it on a dirty toothbrush. And it won't foam on a clean one. Kids love to watch OraQuel work; and in in-home placement tests children using OraQuel tended to brush their teeth 33% more often and 20% longer. What parent or dentist would argue with that! Which is why The Good Housekeeping Institute tabbed OraQuel "Best New Product 2004" "for Product Innovation in Oral Care."

What's the big hype about all this toothbrush cleaning? Well on the surface (no pun intended) the plaque and tartar layer that builds up on teeth leads to gingivitis now liked to heart attack and coronary disease. Plaque from the infection builds up in arteries starting in childhood and potentially results in heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, even low birth weight babies later in life. This gingivitis is present in 84% of Americans who can't see or feel it and 72% of blockages in the arteries of heart attack victims is found to be based on oral plaque, not cholesterol or fat.

To this end OraQuel has a couple of advantages or product features going for it. 1) Children with OraQuel in their household brush more often and longer; better removing plaque and tartar to eliminate gingivitis. 2) OraQuel contains the  most effective ingredient against plaque, tartar and gingivitis. So wetting your toothbrush with OraQuel before you brush enables any toothpaste to do a better job breaking through the plaque and tartar barrier constantly forming as a hardening film on your teeth. 3) Because OraQuel is interactive it is easier for children not to forget to use. Children get excited about using OraQuel because they want to see it working on their dirty toothbrush; and they want to see if their toothbrush IS dirty or clean. Consequently, OraQuel is a better product for sanitizing a toothbrush and promoting the better oral care habits dentists and parents applaud. For my money I'd choose OraQuel. It's better "Heart Smart Oral Care."

Monday, March 01, 2010

BrandWash - The Economics of the Marketing Department's Plagiarism

- The Economics of Plagiarism in Marketing

Drawing on 40 years of experience and the fact that I've created the 10 most successful new products in the consumer packaged goods industry I look back in perspective and decide to write a book called BrandWash - The Economics of Plagiarism in Marketing. Now plagiarism isn't allowed in school. They flunk you out. And a great deal of time is spent on plagiarising business plans in business ethics courses so I began wondering (and here is where I'd like your feedback) why is it so that I can't find a detergent brand that doesn't promise to do the cleaning job better and faster; why can't I find an air freshener from Glade to Fabreeze that doesn't promise to make my house smell sweet; why can't I find an orange juice brand that doesn't have that blasted straw stinking out of an orange or a hand reaching from field to grocer's shelf that doesn't promise to taste most like the orange; why does every Leo Burnett ad seem almost the same; why does every shampoo and conditioner promise women model perfect hair; what analgesic doesn't promise to relieve pain better and faster and so on and so on. You see, I've worked in all these categories, and did so successfully, because we were able to give each category's founding member a highly-differentiating, highly-consumer-desired and highly-differentiating "product based" reason for being - like Claritin's CLEAR DAY. It's kept every other rival at bay for decades and it accounts for 67% of Schering-Plough's profits. ADVERTISING & MARKETING STRATEGY FOR IDIOTS! At one time all ground roast coffee from Maxwell House to Chock Full 'O Nuts that heavenly coffee promised consumers rich taste and aroma completely missing the reason why 20% of the GRC audience (heavy users) account for 85% of category volume. It's not flavor and aroma. IT'S STIMULATION. The best part of waking up is caffiene in your cup. But we couldn't sell a drug so we had to substitute the word Folgers for caffiene and hope it would work. I guess taking a $300 million brand to $1.6 billion on 1/10th the budget of Mrs. Olsen's Mountain Grown did the trick. Differentiated the brand. So Folgers took and sustained a 37 to 14 share lead over Maxwell House overnight. And Maxwell House IS STILL talking about flavor and aroma. Come on BL! Wake up! Hello, is anybody home? No wonder 87% of 6,973 CEOs in an exclusive Boston Consulting Group poll said they were disappointed in their innovation return on investment. There is no innovation. Too much strategic plagiarism going on in just about every conceivable category by marketers who are unable to meaningfully differentiate a brand or product. And just to back that up; Al Ries, Partner of Jack Trout (remember Trout & Ries? The guys who wrote POSITIONING: THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND says marketers walked away from positioning their brands on product based dimensions decades ago. Not even Al Ries (father of Laura Ries if you subscribe to her blog (recommended) Ries' Pieces) thinks he can reignite the olympic positioning torch! Today's marketers don't know what they've lost, and it's gone. Grew up knowing who lived in a pineapple under the sea but couldn't say who lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Oh well, they got bigger fish to fry like tagging the next social media opportunity hoping if they throw enough "creative" against the glass some of it might stick. That's not creative. But it is a reason nearly 7,000 CEOs in a recent Advertising Age Poll opted in that ad agencies had become commodities. Yet CMOs continue to do today what they did yesterday so they can keep on doing it tomorrow. AND THAT'S THE ECONOMICS OF PLAGIARISM IN MARKETING. Companies like McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Kraft all lose more money than they make each year and companies like Coke, because they can't generate big ideas in house outsource new products to Mergers & Acquisitions who overpay for brands like Vitamin Water without a chance of ever recovering their $4+ billion investment.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

McDonald's Leverages Wi-Fi

In it's best marketing decision since Dick and Maurice McDonald put hamburgers on the menu and the Speedy Service System in place McDonald's has given America Free Wi-Fi at 11,500 of 14,000 locations ... an event equally rivaling America's first lunar landing in terms of being able to Socially Engineer or change consumer habits and practices.

McDonald's has long been the bastion of the very young (moms with kids) or the very old (on fixed incomes). It was all they can afford. Now McDonald's has become the McDonald's for "the rest of us." While the maxim CQCQ means that McDonald's will continue to consistently put out the same products, the same way, no matter where you are; free wi-fi access means it's now OK just to go there and hang out. So will you?

I stopped into a neighboring Starbucks. Six laptops paying for wi-fi access and one woman with a brand new laptop from the Best Buy next door desperately trying to log on (newbie). A gentleman delicately explained that you had to pay for the privledge here with AT&T, but the McDonald's down the street had it for free. So I had to pack up my MacBook and head down the street to see.

Yep. Same old crowd and not a laptop in sight. So I ordered a dollar McDouble, sat down and got to work while starting to observe. Within minutes the manager was out at a table (coincidence) with her charts obviously preparing for a meeting. A few minutes later the franchise owner walked in (guess I was right about the meeting - going over numbers). Beaming at me as he walked by came the question excitedly, "So how's the Wi-Fi working!?" "Excellent," I said wanting to assure the man he'd made a wise decision; or that he was lucky for having been tapped to offer free wi-fi. He proceeded with his meeting while I chilled for the next hour and a half.

Same old crowd. No laptops walked in the door, but hey! Guess I'm an early adapter this time around. Find out if McDonald's offers free wi-fi in your community. Go to McDonald's Wireless Connectivity and check it out. Nice move McDonald's. I'm lovin' it! And by the way, the ad in this post is made entirely of french fries. Courtesy of Leo Burnett?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rave Praise for OraQuel!

Hi Martin,

This is fanatastic 12 years ago I was the Head of Marketing For Bayer Professional Dental product (now owned by Hereus Kulzer) we knew these facts then but advised people to chuck out toothbrushes etc etc. Your OraQuel products really address the problem straight on.

Your range and innovation sounds fantastic, where can we buy these products in the UK ? Are you looking for distribution here? Do heart specialists here know about the range?

Kind regards


Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Corporate Creative Comas

Did you know that no one in the consumer packaged goods industry has launched a successful new product that's topped $319 million in sales (within the first year) in at least the last 30 years? I mention this particular number (for Frito-Lay's Baked Lays Potato Chips) because it is the least successful (#10) of the top 10 most successful new products of the past 57 years tracked by companies such as my own Calle & Company, IRI, NPD, ACNielsen and others.

So why do many consumer packaged goods companies miss the big ideas and consumer cultures? I mean companies like Miller Brewing, surfing upon the fame of post-High Life Lite Beer have not been able to internally develop another major brand since the introduction of Cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft - the number two brand behind Lite in their portfolio - and I assisted on the delivery of that one. And then there is Coca-Cola who can't come up with a big idea on its own to save its life. So they outsource all of their new products to mergers and acquisitions - way over paying for brands like Vitamin Water.

So here's a story called "The Smuggler" describing how easy it is for big companies to miss the big think.

A clever smuggler came to the border with a donkey. The donkey's back was heavily laden with straw. The official at the border was suspicious and pulled apart the man's bundles till there was straw all around, but not a valuable thing in the straw was found. "But I'm certain you're smuggling something," the official said, as the man crossed the border.

Now each day for ten years the man came to the border with a donkey. Although the official searched and searched the straw bundles on the donkey's back, he never could find anything valuable hidden in them.

Many years later, after the official had retired, he happened to meet that same smuggler in a marketplace and said, "Please tell me, I beg you. Tell me, what were you smuggling? Tell me, if you can."

"Donkeys," said the man.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hi Everyone! My name is Martin Calle. I've invented a lot of successful consumer products including Baked Lays Potato Chips, Tylenol Gelcaps and Cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft. I've also turned around sleeping giant brands for companies like Procter & Gamble turning $300 million Folgers into a business worth $1.6 billion; I've also grown Pampers by $11 billion over the last 10 years. Now I've launched my own company to make ORAQUEL®. ( ) I invented the name, the concept, the formulas, the whole works. ORAQUEL® is "HEART SMART ORAL CARE" because ORAQUEL® stops "ORAL PLAQUE HEART ATTACK." That's right. The AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION has conducted studies showing that the plaque found in the arteries of 72% of heart attack victims is oral, not arterial plaque. The accumulation begins in childhood and culminates (or should I say “terminates”) when you are an adult. There are three products in the ORAQUEL® line. OraQuel® Oxygenating Toothbrush Cleaner - which "cleans toothbrushes better than water" to remove the plaque, tartar and gingivitis linked to coronary disease. And OraQuel® foams on contact to tell you it's working - an important visual reinforcement that you need to do this. There is also the fact that using OraQuel® causes children to brush their teeth 33% more often and 20% longer because they like to see it work (no parent or dentist has ever been able to accomplish that!) which is why THE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING INSTITUTE tapped OraQuel® as "THE BEST NEW PRODUCT" for "INNOVATION IN ORAL CARE" in 2004. I also manufacture OraQuelAC® After Care promoted to younger audiences passionate about tattoos, body adornment and body modification - they want to use the product to "prevent tongue piercing infections, keep their mouth clean and promote rapid healing"; and OraQuel Lypht®, "THE LIQUID TONGUE SCRAPER" to help those who gag on solid tongue scrapers. Hey! I was a skeptic too until I figured out that manufacturers actually sell enough tongue scrapers to keep them on the shelves at drug stores such as Rite-Aid, Walgreen's and CVS. My fourth product, LIQUID FLOSS® is also available now. Why did I pick oral care? Well, tobacco, alcohol and paper goods are the top three sellers in chain drug and grocery stores and their costs of entry are too high. The forth largest catergory is personal care or what used to be called health & beauty aids (H&BA). There, the top sellers are first shampoos and conditioners (of which there are too many) and oral care. The cost of entry in oral care is much lower and there are far fewer relevant competitors. The big guys like Colgate Total and P&G's Crest only focus on the five category attributes I defined for them years ago as to why we brush our teeth. (For cavity prevention, breath freshening, gum care, tartar control and whitening of course). Now I'm not big enough to compete against them so I had to find a different avenue and that route is called ORAQUEL®. Please try my products! Check out my web site - it's really different (at least when compared to every other dental and oral care site out there. Thanks!