Marketing Moronicism

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I went to a Jesuit college, and I excelled at philosophy and religious studies. I naively decided to get a major in marketing, which in retrospect I consider idiotic. Unless you are entering a profession involving something that puts people at risk (engineering, medicine, etc.) my view is that college is a place to learn to think, not to learn a vocation. My marketing degree was an utter and complete waste of time. (Although I graduated in only 2 1/2 years, since I was eager to get working).

I was reminded of this when I read about a marketing success for a cereal named Shreddies. This is not sold in the U.S., but instead is in Canada, New Zealand, and Britain. Shreddies was your basic shredded wheat cereal, much like any Mini Wheats you’d find in America, but it was an old, stodgy brand.

They decided to mix things up by……….turning the square 45 degrees. And renaming the product Diamond Shreddies. And, no, I’m not making this up.


Now, in a sane and just universe, the public would have guffawed and – – I dunno – – thrown the boxes on the grocery floor and stomped on them. But here on Earth, the reaction was quite different.

Ogilvy & Mather rotated the Square-shaped Shreddie by 45 degrees, turning it into two adjacent Triangles rather than one Square, and calling the new product “Diamond Shreddies.” Real-life market research videos…show people finding the Triangular shape to be “better,” “crunchier,” and “more flavourful.” All this was done “without changing Shreddies in design, formulation, size or any other way.”

There’s more………

The Square-Turned-Triangle “Diamond Shreddies” campaign generated tremendous value for Kraft Foods. This campaign generated more than 265 press stories covering the “All New Diamond Shreddies,” and Kraft Foods saw an immediate 18% increase in baseline sales of Shreddies within the first month alone, and for months thereafter. By turning a square shape into a triangular shape, Ogilvy & Mather reintroduced a 67 year old brand in a first class fashion, and established boosted sustainable profits for Kraft Foods

I guess I’ll go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge now.