iSnack 2.0 | The most brilliant new product launch of the century

Post by: Shanyn Payne and Simon Potts (Team 5)
isnack-new

Even though the name of the product was dumped pretty quickly, you have to admit – we all remember the launch of iSnack 2.0 in September of 2009.  How many other products can you name that were launched that year?  None, I bet.  Which is what makes the launch of this new product the most successful of the century.

The most important objective of a new product launch is getting consumers to try it; and within 2 weeks of the new name sales rose 47% and it was in 15% of households.  These results were unprecedented, as normally it takes months to get that sort of market penetration.

Although some called it a failure, and it spawned many parodies like this one from Rove Live, surely this only made people more curious to try the product, and it resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of advertising that Kraft did not have to pay for.

Deakin’s own Paul Harrison even agrees in a 2009 blog that it was a great strategy and that it made him “hungry for some salty tasting, black goo on toast”!

Marketing experts at the time called it a “win-win” for Kraft and “good PR” and even suggested that it would “breathe new life” into the existing product, and the sales results proved this to be correct.

But  what do you think?  Was master marketing strategy by Kraft?  Or did they just get lucky?

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12 thoughts on “iSnack 2.0 | The most brilliant new product launch of the century

  1. I don’t think that the outcome, thousands of people making fun of the new product name, was anytime intended by the company and therefore, it’s far a way from being a master marketing strategy. In contrast, the marketing strategy seemed to fully fail because they certainly didn’t transport the message that they wanted to.
    Although for some companies or people it might be true that all publicity is good publicity, I don’t think that this is the way a renown, long-standing company like Vegemite is looking at it. Although they might be satisfied with the resulting sales numbers, I don’t believe that they intended to achieve these figures by a master plan that included looking ridiculous in the eyes of their customers.

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  2. When you look at the overall strategy, holding a competition for consumers to choose a new name for the brand and then announce it during the AFL grand final, the intention of Kraft was quite clear to get consumers involved and boost the brand name of vegemite. The fact that they received ridicule may not have been intentional or within the overall strategy but I believe it served to help achieve their desired goal, so I think it was a successful strategy in the end. I think Kraft reacted well to the ridicule too. They followed up with a choice of 6 other names for consumers to decide, maintaining their intension to involve consumers. In the end they had a viable name to use in “Cheesybite” and achieved their goals of consumer involvement and brand exposure to levels which I’m sure surpassed their expectations.

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    • I agree! I think the strategy started off very well, but they missed a crucial step when they let the Kraft Board members choose the name! Kraft consulted with their customers from a bottom up approach from the start, yet did not consult with them at the end. I wonder if things would have been different if they had done this?

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  3. Even i dont think so.
    Kraft’s decision to revitalize brand performance through the introduction of a brand extension was not a master strategy..
    ‘iSnack 2.0’ Unfortunately the iSnack name did not sit well with consumers. Cries of protest about the name were seen on Tweeter and Facebook.
    Eventually iSnack was replaced with another product called ‘Cheesybite’ which was more popular with consumers as they got more of a say in the name and the product.

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  4. Not living in Australia anymore i totally missed this new vegemite product! I think just the fact that Kraft involved the public in naming their new product was a very interesting marketing strategy in itself. However I don’t think any company could pull something like this off. “Vegemite” is an iconic household item in Australia, one that everyone knows, so when Kraft introduced this campaign, people got on board fairly quickly. You can imagine the same thing happening if, for instance, Arnott’s was to bring out a totally new funky Tim Tam based product. I don’t think, however, that a random no-name company would achieve the same engagement or publicity if they were to revamp a product that no one knows in the first place.

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    • Interesting that you mention Tim Tams – they have recently co-branded a new range with pastry-chef-of-the-moment Adrian Zumbo! The white chocolate and raspberry and salted caramel flavours sold in smaller packets for the same price and have proven popular. It seems that the co-branding was a success for Arnotts… do you want me to send you some? 😉

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  5. It would certainly have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in Kraft’s marketing office during the lead up and launch of iSnack 2.0/Cheesybite! Personally, I suspect their original intention was to leverage consumer engagement through involvement in naming the new product to try and boost awareness, particularly among brand loyalists. The media storm created by the ridicule of their chosen name (iSnack 2.0) was probably not anticipated, and could have ended very badly for the new product’s market prospects.
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/archive/news/smear-campaign-ends-vegemite-isnack20/story-e6frf7l6-1225781188327
    What is probably not recognised enough is the manner in which the company handled this potential public relations nightmare, turning it around in a way that actually generated considerable positive media exposure for the brand.
    http://idsgn.org/posts/crowdsourced-branding-a-disaster-for-kraft/
    Ultimately, success will be gauged on:
    1. Sales
    2. Brand recognition
    3. Brand loyalty
    and as suggested in the article, it certainly ticked all of these boxes! Whether intentional or not, the way the campaign was managed – and the outcomes it generated – certainly made it one of the more successful product launches of recent memory.

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  6. I am pretty sure that the added attention and publicity, although not really for he right purposes, was still appreciated by Kraft. From a marketing point of view, Brand awareness can be extremely difficult to achieve and anything that gets people talking is gold for a marketer.

    I am not sure how the product is doing now though? The initial attention does not appear to have translated into sustained product sales.

    I was one to try iSnack when it came out but was not sure the product lived up to expectations. With all the attention, good or bad, a product needs to be enough to hold its own after the initial buzz has died down. I am not so sure iSnack has done this.

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  7. First – I love vegemite. Now having declared by bias I think Kraft were sooo sooo lucky to have got away with this. To me know, anything that is introduced to be included with Vegemite is all too easily associated with failure and a lack of authenticity. The strength of the brand in Australia and the loyalty associated with it being a unique Australian product helped Kraft get away with this. Until reading this blog I was unsure if iSnack was a different product or a new name for Vegemite or an attempt to reformulate the original. A cobranding or ingredient branding exercise would have been much better for Kraft. Its about Vegemite and Cheese not Cheese in Vegemite. I,m pretty sure Kraft have their own cheese brands. I think now they have probably lost their ability to do this. A tactical error in my view.

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    • Thanks for your comment! I agree that a co-branding strategy would have indeed been a good alternative strategy, particularly as Kraft do own the Philladelphia cheese brand” as well as Kraft cream cheese spread. In fact, I often put both the cream cheese spread and vegemite on my toast!

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  8. I agree the hype generated got consumers talking about the core brand, whether you loved or hated the 2.0 Vegemite offer it generated significant awareness of this iconic Australian brand which could have only been beneficial for Kraft. I can only imagine the difficulty Kraft marketers must have increasing awareness and trial of this historical brand given the extent of the various campaigns rolled out over the years, despite the many loyal consumers that eat this product everyday, like me ! When you consider where Vegemite is in the Product Life Cycle, it is obviously a mature and established brand and with such an established brand, it is a constant process of revitalisation to ensure it stays relevant in the contemporary market place. They tried something different, they were agile enough to respond when the campaign did not go exactly as intended and it appears overall it was beneficial for the Vegemite brand. Personally I like the campaign, I followed it and trialled the new product. Sadly I did not like it and never purchased it again….

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