Dynamic Business Logo
Home Button
Bookmark Button

No really, it is.

Sometimes we try to get too clever, and feel the pressure to constantly innovate to stay relevant in the market. In a way, it’s true. But if you have a great product and your message is working, why ditch a good thing?

There are so many things we can learn from the marketing journey that iconic Australian brand Vegemite have been on in the last few years.

Everything about Vegemite is iconic- the name, packaging, the familiar yellow and red tones on the label, the advertisements, the jingle. Aussies have taken the humble yeast by-product into their hearts and homes and will fiercely defend it to our not so savvy international friends who do not understand how delicious it really is. As you can tell, I’m a fan.

However in June 2009, Kraft decided to mess with everything that had made Vegemite such a success. They released a “new” Vegemite that was basically regular Vegemite combined with cream cheese. It was the first variation in 85 years. They undertook a massive research project and found that consumers wanted something a little more spreadable and user friendly.

In theory this Vegemite sidekick should have been a success. However an attempt to make it more modern will go down in history as one of the dumbest names ever given to a food product, with the biggest backlash.

ISnack 2.0 sounds more like the latest update for your iPhone and too far a departure from the brand. It was intended to align with the younger market and make it more “cool” (a word our Gen Y-er has explicitly banned from our office, along with “hip” and “trendy” – apparently “totes cool” is ok). The next incarnation, “Cheesybite” was much more on the money.

Their latest big marketing move is much more true to the brand and its values. “Toast of a Nation” is a new campaign that honours the extraordinary achievements of everyday Australians who are, “made from Vegemite”.

Instead of trying to innovate the product, they are innovating their message and marketing. The new campaign stays true to the brand values – connecting to the consumer using a feel good, real world approach that embodies the Australian spirit of “giving it a go”.

Rather than trying to embrace new technology by giving a new product a naff name they are re-engaging loyal consumers and new ones by moving online. They are embracing the move towards the online world by being a part of it, instead of just using a tech sounding name.

The current television campaign directs people online where you can nominate an everyday hero. The ads have the same nostalgic feel as past campaigns and is easily identifiable with all the things Vegemite stand for.

The lesson here that Kraft learned the hard way is that sometimes, if you have a great brand with a loyal following its best not to mess with it. Innovate your message to reinforce what the brand stands for and tactics to engage those loyal customers further.  See, simple – like I said.

What do you think?

    Be the first to comment

Add a new comment

Michelle Gamble

Michelle Gamble

Michelle is the Chief Angel of Marketing Angels, an entrepreneur who has built Marketing Angels from the ground up over the past 10 years. Marketing Angels has grown into one of Australia’s leading marketing consultancies providing marketing education, advice and outsourced marketing management to business. Michelle claims she's a bit of marketing geek, having started her marketing career in telecommunications and online working for both Telstra and Optus before starting Marketing Angels. Michelle is also a busy mother to 3 children, and lives in Manly NSW.

View all posts