Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Klondike Krunch - you cheat on my treat

I'm not going to get in to a lengthy post here today about the importance of accuracy of product visuals on packaged goods. This is something that should be obvious.  From a consumer point of view, what you see on the box is what you expect to receive when you open the package and consume the product. If you care to look at the research on this, check out research streams related to expectation theory and packaging, satisfaction and packaging, and brand image and packaging. You'll find these topics in both the marketing and psych lit streams.
Toucan Sam!
Most of the time, the image of the product on the package is pretty darn close to what you get on the inside. If you see green, purple, blue, yellow, red and orange loop-shaped cereal bits on the Froot Loop box, you can expect to have  your cereal bowl full of those rainbow of colors.  If you find substantial difference between what is in your bowl and what you see on the package, then one of two things will happen.  One, you probably won't purchase Froot Loops again OR, if are annoyed enough you can call (old school) or email  (so 1995) Kellogg's and they will likely fix it. It's called brand accountability and it is one of the key benefits consumers enjoy from purchasing a strongly branded product, like Kellogg's Froot Loops.  I've seen some work Kellogg's has done in this area, and quite frankly, they are really good at being accountable to their consumers with respect to their brands.

Kellogg's old school accountability
So it has been a while since I've seen a big disconnect between the visual product on the box and the actual product itself.  It's just too obvious of a gaffe.  Yesterday, however I did experience this - and this give us our blog post for today.  Today's hall of fame (shame?) example comes to us from the letter K - for Klondike.  The visual speaks for itself.

Can you see the difference? Yeah. there's a difference.
There's not a lot of rice crispies on my Klondike Krunch bar!

Why is this packaging-product gap such a big deal?  Anybody who is buying a Klondike Krunch is doing so for the rice crunchies. (Otherwise he/she would be buying the classic Klondike). Skimp on the reason I am buying this extension (the rice crunchies) and you're cheating me!  But here comes the double whammy. Chocolate covered ice cream is a hedonic purchase. This item is a treat and reward, not a functional product. Cheating here, is cheating me out of my treat!  In other words, Klondie Krunch's cheating is not really about a few crispies that are missing from the physical product - it is about not maximizing the pleasure that I expected after viewing the crispie filled image. I bought Krunch, but instead of looking at my treat as a win, I felt like I lost.  That's prospect theory in action and it is a nasty mindset for a customer to be in before biting into a treat.

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While on the packaging post today, I came across this packaging-product disconnect courtesy of Popsicle's Sponge Bob. (Originally from Laura Kirkendall's blog.)  WOW Nick - you might want to revisit your licensing agreement with Popsicle.

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