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Tide Cleaners

It’s as difficult to grasp as seeing Michael Jordan wearing a minor league baseball uniform.

Tide, the iconic Procter & Gamble brand of heavy-duty laundry detergent, is now a dry cleaners.

https://www.tidedrycleaners.com/WebPages/Home.aspx

Their website says, “We’ve been in your home for over 60 years. It’s about time we got our own place. Discover a fresh approach to dry cleaning…We combine GreenEarth® technology with amazing stain removal, color maintenance, and a clean so fresh you can smell it. All to bring your clothes back to life with an experience you’ll love from your very first visit.”

A bold move in brand extension.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.  Will consumers, awash in a mix of mostly local and regional dry-cleaning brands, move to something so popular yet so foreign?  Will Tide lead the pack?

Tide Car

Maybe it was just a bad run of their label-making press. Maybe it’s my inability to discern fifty shades of pink. Maybe I just don’t grasp the concept of subtlety in packaging.

I’m having a hard time reading the label on this bottle of Aquafina Flavor Splash Sparkling Berry Loco Four Berry Blend Flavor, a product of Pepsico under its popular Aquafina bottled water brand.

Image

I like the beverage, but I can’t read the label easily.  It doesn’t jump off the shelf at me.

In British slang, the word “bottle” means “courage” or “mettle,” as in “He’s a skilled footballer, but he lacks bottle.”  Pepsi had the bottle to design a pink-on-pink bottle, but I don’t think it scored a goal.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 11 DECEMBER 2018:  THE KIOSK HAS BEEN REMOVED! THERE IS NO LONGER THE KIOSK OPTION AND THE CUSTOMER HAS TO WAIT IN LINE AT THE COUNTER! WE HAVE GONE BACKWARD IN TIME!

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”                                                                                – Henry David Thoreau

I have spent too much of my life waiting at the Kroger deli counter.  A fortnight of quiet desperation and longing for my Private Selection Honey Turkey to be sliced at 1.5 thickness. It has always been a dreaded task, especially during peak shopping hours.  A necessary sacrifice of time to get the good stuff. Prepackaged meat never tastes the same.

My wait is over. Kroger’s self-service, touch-screen deli ordering system. Kroger must have taken a took a cue from the queueless – the Fastpass® system that’s made visits to Disney theme parks so much more efficient and enjoyable.

fastpass roger r

Kroger’s process is very similar to getting a place in line at a Disney World ride.  You enter your order in detail, you get a ticket, you come back fifteen minutes later, and wham-bam there it is, sitting in a wicker basket with your number on it. The greatest thing since sliced pastrami.

deli ticket

Kroger Deli Order station 2013-12-05
Cross Sell Cheese2

Kroger has smartly included a cross-selling function. When I ordered turkey, Kroger pitched me some Swiss cheese. I almost took them up on it. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. This is how I roll now.

On the busy, pre-ice-storm day I was at Kroger, I seemed to be the only one taking advantage of this automated ordering system. Other shoppers stacked themselves two-deep, ignoring the new process and loudly repeating their desires for meat and cheese across the glass case to the deli staff. Good service includes self-service. It takes time for customers to catch on to that.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon.  Who said you can't have "Good, Fast and Cheap" all at the same time?  Oh yeah, I did.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon. Who said you can’t have “Good, Fast and Cheap” all at the same time? Oh yeah, I did.

Today is College Colors Day.   http://www.collegecolorsday.com/   It looks like an event cooked up to sell more NCAA-licensed merchandise.  An incremental lift in t-shirt sales on this first weekend of college football.  Group shots of people wearing the names of their schools in the workplace are scattered across social media.  Lots of “my school can beat up your school” Friday chatter.

People like to affiliate, to belong to something, to join a brand. Around the world, we cluster around professional sports teams, especially soccer clubs.  Here in America we are blessed with the bigness of collegiate sports AND our pro leagues.  And here in Middle America – the towns and states without major league franchises – big college brands fill a void.

USC Trojans v Arkansas RazorbacksSome schools own their territory.  Others, not so much.  I live in Arkansas.  And here in Arkansas, the school that calls itself “Arkansas” is not just the flagship university of our state.  It’s our state’s brand. The red Razorback is worn proudly by the masses: people who went to the University of Arkansas, people who went somewhere else, and people who never went to college at all. We have other great schools here in the Natural State:  Hendrix College, Arkansas State and Arkansas Tech, to name a few.  But nobody sports those schools’ colors unless, at some point, they really went to college there.

Affiliation with a college team is easy.  Nobody asks to see your diploma.  There’s an old saying in Texas:  “Somebody who wears a Texas A&M shirt went to A&M.  Somebody who wears a Texas Longhorns shirt went to Walmart.”  I said that was an old saying.  The recent success of A&M and the phenomenon known as Johnny Football have turned the tables in the Lone Star State.  Now being an Aggie is cool, even if you aren’t really an Aggie.

As for me, even though I walk through the valley of cardinal-clad “Hogs” fans, my colors today are purple and gold for LSU, with a touch of red and blue for SMU. Because I actually went to school at those places.  Imagine that.
lsu_pennant_66591smasmu_mustangs_pennant_17232sma

Stock photography in marketing communications: It’s pointless.  It’s awful.  It’s pointawfuless.

There’s an old saying in advertising agencies and other purveyors of promotion production:  “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick any two.”

Pick Any Two

Stock photography is cheap and fast.  But it’s not always good.

???????

I bought this package of Kroger potato chips because they were half the price of the Lay’s brand. Results: They taste good.

Note how Kroger’s logo sits atop the ho-hum tagline, “From our family to yours.”  That’s the connection to the photo of the happy, romping family of four:  the family is running joyfully through tall, green grass to get those delicious potato chips at their nearest Kroger store.  I can almost see the thin thread connecting brand to imagery to product. Almost.

A bland photo on a package doesn’t add or subtract anything.  It’s just there.  An excuse to print in four-color process.

You might luck out and find a stock photo that’s exactly what you want. In that case, save the money and go with stock.  But remember that same photo might show up in other places.  You didn’t take that picture. You don’t own it.

I’ll be looking for the potato-chip family to pop up in a life insurance ad.