Marketing Trends Improving Products “ Think outside the box”
Chewy Chips Ahoy bag
Goal: Improve freshness and convenience
Backstory: After months of in-home research, Kraft discovered that its customers often transferred Chips Ahoy cookies to jars for easy access and to avoid staleness. The company solved both problems by creating a patented resealable opening on the top of the bag. Bottom Line: Since launching in July 2005, it's raked in more than $44 million in sales, according to research firm IRI, nearly doubling sales of the older packaging.
Hard to reach areas
Heinz Ketchup upside-down bottle
Goal: Increase functionality Backstory: Heinz revolutionized the 170-year-old industry in 2002 when it introduced its inverted bottle (consumers had complained for years about how hard it was to squeeze out that last bit of ketchup). The Pittsburgh-based company spent three years designing the convenient container, which is equipped with a vacuum cap that stops irritating crustiness from forming around the lid. "Companies make a lot of money by making things less annoying," Panjabi says. Bottom Line: A year after the bottle's debut, Heinz ketchup sales rose 6 percent, while the overall ketchup industry increased only 2 percent.
Kleenex Tissues oval box
Goal: Make a common household product unique Backstory: Americans spend more on home decor during the holidays than at any other time, so last season Kimberly-Clark introduced an oval-shaped Kleenex box that was a clear departure from its usual rectangular shapes. The goal was to position the product as a must-have accessory rather than a functional item. Bottom Line: It was the company's best-selling holiday line in history, with sales twice those of the 2004 season. Kimberly-Clark followed it with seasonal designs for springtime.
Crest Vivid White toothpaste package
Goal: Stand out on store shelves Backstory: When Procter & Gamble's Crest set out to develop a premium whitening product in 2003, designers avoided creating yet another horizontal, graphics-heavy toothpaste box. Instead, they turned to the beauty aisle for inspiration. "We drew upon the vertical packaging and the deep metallic blue used to convey 'premium,'" says design manager Greg Zimmer. Bottom Line: Crest toothpaste sales rose by 5 percent in 2005, while competitor Colgate's sales fell 6 percent, according to IRI.
Last Longer, Freshness
Packaging, Different Sizes
Domino Sugar 4-pound canister
Goal: Create a more user-friendly package Backstory: To boost flat sales, Domino replaced sugar's ubiquitous paper packaging. The easy-to-store plastic canister enables the Yonkers, N.Y., company to charge a premium for a package that actually contains less sugar. Bottom Line: The canister has become one of Domino's best-selling retail items.
Own a iPod, a digital camera, and a voice recorder and you get tons of cords as well. It is a mess of ridiculously long cables snaking around your computer. Go on the road and it gets worse.
That was the final straw--the one that led me to discover the Cableyoyo. It's a sleek and easy way to roll up wires and adjust their lengths whether you're on the road or at your desk. Very durable
It's basically a wireless communication device that can be connected to any online data source--your stock portfolio, the National Weather Service, company servers--and programmed to change colors as information changes. I use the Orb first thing in the morning to check the results of software tests we run overnight. If the Orb is green, I know right away that the tests worked. If it glows red, the tests failed. I don't have to waste time reading log files or searching through e-mail clutter for the results. Setting up the Orb is really easy. You register the device at Ambient's website, where there's a menu of "channels" you can choose from and a simple set of instructions if you want to customize it. You can make your Orb radiate any color you want.
Mouse Calls Skype's Internet phone service has been a great way for our company to keep its long-distance bills down, but the sound quality was rather poor on my laptop's built-in microphone. I tried a pair of high-end headphones, but they were a pain to carry around. So I spent some time browsing online and stumbled across this clever new device, which does double duty as a USB-connected computer mouse and clamshell phone. A blue LED lights up when a call comes in. I keep one in my travel bag and another plugged into my laptop at home. Best of all? The sound quality is nearly as good as on a landline phone.
Rabbit The Rabbit can read e-mail, report the weather or stock market, pull RSS feeds and tell you the time. We'd say that's pretty smart - but he's also got personality. Nabaztag can move his ears, play music, talk and whistle, and his body can show off hundreds of colors and special patterns of light. And as far as friendship, Nabaztag can let you know when you have a new e-mail, read you today's headlines or give you his opinion of the previous week. But be careful because he is uncompromising if he thinks that he didn't receive enough messages he might be unhappy.
Boots Caffeine Strips
The largest U.K. pharmacy chain, began selling these mint-flavored caffeine strips in late 2004. They're a lot like those Listerine breath-freshening strips--and taste just as bad. But the Boots variety also delivers a caffeine kick that's about equal to half a cup of coffee.
28 strips come in a pack, but Boots recommends using no more than four a day.
The buzz is pretty much instantaneous.
The idea: We already fortify foods with vitamins and minerals. Why not add smart drugs and anxiety medication? The trend: Pharmaceuticals will be taken on an as-needed basis. Users wary of pills might be less afraid of apples. Technology available? Almost. Already there are functional foods such as Dannon's Activia yogurt, with trademarked bacteria said to promote digestive health.
Liquid Center Gum
Trident Splash (Cadbury Schweppes Americas) 2005 sales: $3.5 million (released in October) Each piece of Splash is a hard-coated pellet with a liquid center, so it delivers two flavors in every bite. Sold in peppermint-vanilla and strawberry- lime, it's the first liquid-filled gum aimed at adults.
Jolt Caffeinated gum
2005 sales: $2.7 million Founded by two former Colgate-Palmolive execs, GumRunners licensed the brand name of the heavily caffeinated cult beverage to create Jolt gum, which packs a coffee cup's worth of caffeine into two chewable pieces.
Whitening gum 2005 sales: $49.7 million Launched in July 2004 as an extension of Wrigley's blockbuster Orbit brand (which did $235 million in sales last year), Orbit White contains sodium bicarbonate to keep teeth white and prevent plaque buildup.
Airwaves Active Gum
Airwaves Active (Wrigley) 2005 sales: Not available Introduced last year in France and sold in 14 European and Asian countries, Airwaves contains vitamins and ingredients such as guarana that are said to aid the immune system.
The idea: A new source for bottled H2O. The trend: The world is getting thirsty for fresh drinking water as rivers run dry. At the same time, global warming is melting the ice caps. Why not turn that bug into a feature? Technology available? Yes. Alaska Glacier Refreshments is already marketing water that was stored in the Eklutna Glacier for 23,000 years - but it doesn't come direct.
What began as a simple mapping application has since turned into one of the most versatile tools on the Web. Google Maps is inspiring developers to create customized maps of just about everything, from taco trucks in Seattle to scuba sites around the world. The application programming interface, or API, went public in June 2005, inspiring developers to use the free tool kit to create innovative mashups. One of those, HousingMaps.com, impressed Google so much that it hired the site's creator.
Since Google Maps was integrated into Google Local, the number of unique monthly visitors has increased 38 percent to 17.9 million.
Personalized M & Ms
Shoppers can select from 21 colors or choose designated palettes organized by occasion, such as weddings and baby showers. Each candy holds two lines of text at eight characters each, with the iconic "M" printed on the flip side. The website itself is fun and easy to use, allowing customers to preview candies at various stages. My M&Ms was so inundated before Valentine's Day, it warned customers that new orders would not arrive until March. That, despite the fact that a minimum order of four 9-ounce bags comes to about $40, before shipping and sales tax. "It's a lot of money per M&M," says juror Don Norman, professor of computer science and psychology at Northwestern University. "This is a price-insensitive market."
Tricked-out strollers Bugaboo
Why settle for a $250 buggy when you can buy a baby Bentley? That's the philosophy behind Amsterdam-based Bugaboo, which markets high-tech strollers priced between $679 and $2,000. Its best-selling Cameleon comes equipped with a three-position tilting seat, a mosquito net, and a fleece-lined foot warmer. Privately held Bugaboo says U.S. revenues have doubled every year since its 2003 launch in North America.
two iPhones will ship: a 4GB and an 8GB model, costing $249 and $449