(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘marketing

“My favorite food from my homeland is Guinness. My second choice is Guinness. My third choice – would have to be Guinness.”*…

As Will O’Brien explains, Ireland’s most famous brewery has been ahead of the curve for 250 years…

Taken over its entire history, Guinness may just be the most successful company Ireland has ever produced. In 1930, it was the seventh largest company in Britain or Ireland. It is one of our oldest companies of note. Considering that it predates the Bank of Ireland and the State itself, it could even be said that Guinness is the longest-running successful large institution in Ireland.

The key to Guinness’ robustness has been innovation. Through a series of key innovations, Guinness was able to stay on top despite (among other things) a famine, mass emigration, two World Wars, a civil war, and the changeover from British to sovereign rule. Guinness is responsible for changes in workplace relations, several foundational advances in the physics of brewing, and even the famous Student’s t-test in statistics. Indeed, Guinness has been one of the key drivers of innovation in Ireland.

A determined founder began Guinness with a vision and took a bold decision with a 9000-year lease. The company then started a brewery which defied nearly every norm in workplace relations. They used the scientific method to radically rethink how beer is brewed and served, and created a world-class brand & marketing operation.

When Guinness released a subtly different pint glass several years ago, traditionalists decried it as blasphemous. The irony is that the brewery that creates this drink has eschewed tradition for over 250 years…

Lessons are where one finds them: “No Great Stagnation in Guinness,” from @willobri.

* Peter O’Toole

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As we contemplate continuity, we might recall that it was on this date in 1903 that the first U.S. patent for instant coffee (No. 735,777) was issued to Satori Kato of Chicago, Illinois. The application was filed in April of 1901, when his Kato Coffee Company introduced the product at the Pam-American Exposition in Buffalo.

A brochure for the Kato Coffee Company, from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 11, 2022 at 7:59 am

“The sea hath fish for every man”*…

A few weeks ago, (Roughly) Daily shared the story of The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ attempt to rebrand invasive Asian Carp as Copi in an attempt to make it a more appealing food. Kane Hsieh, writing in Spencer Wright‘s always-illuminating The Prepared, elaborates on the theme…

… It’s worked in the past: Chilean sea bass (Patagonian toothfish), monkfish (goosefish), and uni (urchin, also called whore’s eggs by American fisherman as recently as 1990) were all successful rebrandings.

Speaking of fish, it’s always a surprise to me how much of what feels like traditional cuisine is actually very modern, accidental, or even engineered. In Japanese cuisine, tuna and salmon rose to their contemporary status only in the 20th century: tuna was a poor man’s fish until post-war Western influence brought a taste for fattier meat, and salmon was an undesirable fish until the 80s when a desperate Norwegian government ran aggressive ad campaigns in Japan

Trash to table: rebranding fish to make them more palletable, from @kane in @the_prepared.

William Camden

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As we contemplate cuisine, we might recall that it was on this date in 1838 that it rained frogs in London. Indeed, there have been numerous instances on polliwog precipitation in the area, most recently in 1998, when an early morning rain shower in Croydon (South London) was accompanied by hundreds of dead frogs.

A woodcut showing a rain of frogs in Scandanavia, from ‘Prodigiorum ac Ostentorum Chronicon,’ one of the first modern books about strange phenomenon, published in 1557 [source]

Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 30, 2022 at 1:00 am

“On any given day… 5% of Americans will consume a fresh orange, 21% will consume orange juice.”*…

How concentrated and ready-to-pour orange juice– originally a dumping ground for extra oranges– conquered the morning menu…

The staid carton of orange juice has long sat next to tea and coffee at the breakfast table. It’s bright, but somewhat boring, and bears the dubious halo of being something good for you. Few of us give it much thought, other than to recall its oft-trumpeted Vitamin C content.

But processed orange juice as a daily drink, you might be surprised to learn, is a relatively recent arrival. Its present status as a global phenomenon is the creation of 20th-Century marketers, dealing with a whole lot of oranges and nowhere to put them…

How orange juice took over the breakfast table,” from @BBC_Future. [TotH to friend MK.]

USDA

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As we get sweet, we might recall that it was on this date in 1821 that Spain formally transferred sovereignty over the territory we now know as Florida– the center of the orange juice industry– to the United States. (Spain had, of course, traded Florida to England [for Cuba] in 1763, but had regained it as a product of the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 17, 2022 at 1:00 am

“…there may be no forgiveness for polyester. On this one matter, Satan and the Lord are in agreement”*…

Polyester has had a roller coaster ride as a clothing fabric, but now it’s sitting pretty. As Virginia Postrel explains, thanks to advances in materials science, it reinvented itself so successfully that many people don’t even realize they’re wearing polyester today…

Fifty years ago, polyester seemed like a wonder fabric. It freed women from their ironing boards, and they poured into the workforce, feeling liberated in their double-knit pantsuits. Polyester held bright colors better than old-fashioned materials, making it ideal for psychedelic prints, disco attire, and sports teams clashing on color television. It was inexpensive, and it didn’t wear out. People loved polyester.

Until they didn’t. A decade later, polyester was the faux pas fiber. It pilled and snagged. It didn’t breathe. It stank from sweat. And it represented bad taste. ‘It became associated with people of low socioeconomic status who didn’t have any style’, an advertising executive told the Wall Street Journal in 1982.

That year, prices fell by more than 10 percent, as polyester fiber consumption dropped to its lowest level since 1974. Profits plummeted. Plants closed. Industry polls showed a quarter of Americans wouldn’t touch the stuff – with resistance fiercest among the young, the affluent, and the fashion-conscious. For polyester makers, the miracle threatened to become a disaster…

Four decades later, polyester rules the textile world. It accounts for more than half of global fiber consumption, about twice that of second-place cotton. Output stands at nearly 58 million tons a year, more than 10 times what it was in the early ’80s. And nobody complains about polyester’s look and feel. If there’s a problem today, it’s that people like polyester too much. It’s everywhere, even at the bottom of the ocean…

On the past and future of a ubiquitous fiber: “How polyester bounced back,” from @vpostrel.

* “He paused, twisting his goatee, considering the law in Deuteronomy that forbade clothes with mixed fibers. A problematic bit of Scripture. A matter that required thought. ‘Only the devil wants man to have a wide range of lightweight and comfortable styles to choose from,’ he murmured at last, trying out a new proverb. ‘Although there may be no forgiveness for polyester. On this one matter, Satan and the Lord are in agreement’.” – Joe Hill, Horns

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As we contemplate clothing, we might send inventive birthday greetings to Ron Popeil; he was born on this date in 1935. An inventor and entrepreneur, he developed dozens of best-selling products and pioneered the direct-response infomercial form of sales.

At the age of 17, Popeil moved to Chicago and went to work for his father to learn the trade from him. Popeil’s father, Samuel J. Popeil, was an inventor as well, and some of Ron’s earlier famous creations were based on his father’s gadgets. He also discovered a flea market in Chicago called Maxwell Street that helped boost his career considerably. He also demonstrated his products at Woolworths’ in Chicago where he earned in excess of $1000 per week. After acting as his father’s distributor for a few years, Popeil eventually opened up his own company named “Ronco” in 1964.

When Popeil was working for his father, one of the products he undertook to sell was a vegetable chopper called “Chop-O-Matic”. Priced at $3.98, this was one of the bestselling products of his company and sold over 2 million units. The only problem was that salesmen could not carry enough vegetables with them to demonstrate the chopping process at each house. The solution was to record a video demonstrating the use of the gadget. This led him to think about advertising these videos as a commercial on television. Television commercials and Popeil were an instant match. Popeil’s natural selling skills could now reach crowds of millions and further sales began to pour in.

Ron had a long list of bestselling products with his company Ronco. One was a device called the “pocket fisherman” that is a small tackle box with hook, line, and sinker all in one. He called it “the best fishing invention since the fishing pole and only for $19.95”. Another invention was “Mr. Microphone” – a low powered FM modulator and radio transmitter that would broadcast using an FM radio. Another of his bestsellers was the “Showtime Rotisserie” oven for cooking chicken and BBQ. In his infomercials he used the line “Set it, and forget it!” to pitch the product to audiences. Other products include smokeless ashtray, drain buster, bottle cap opener, electric food dehydrator, egg scrambler, hair formula to cover up bald patches, Dial-O-Matic, and a pasta maker.

Famous Inventors

And Popeil was also hugely impactful in the ways that he sold his products, helping to develop and establishing a number of the norms and tropes of the infomercial, including the now-standard catchphrases “But wait, there’s more” and “Operators are standing by.”

Ron Popeil with his “Showtime Rotisserie”

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