10 marketing successes and failures at the grocery store

Market successes are when companies fill an actual consumer need, while failures often occur when firms create a consumer need that wasn’t there or create a pointless product attribute to appeal to a consumer desire.  This past week’s task was to scan a grocery store and determine real-life successes and failures of the marketing perspective and explore ways producers meet real consumer needs or mislead consumers with pointless product attributes.  To accomplish this task, I traveled to the Fresh Market in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. This is my local college grocery store.


McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract 20170228_162114

The first product I would consider a failure of the marketing perspective. McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract is labeled non-GMO, no corn syrup, and gluten free. This product is pure vanilla extract with water and alcohol. It was never genetically modified, never contained corn syrup, and didn’t contain gluten! McCormick is using meaningless and false product attributes to appeal to the desires of consumers.

Fiji Natural Artisan Water20170228_162838

Fiji Natural Artisan Water is one of many water brands that are a marketing perspective failure. Water is water and has the exact same chemical make-up regardless of where it came from. Di-hydrogen monoxide. This is an attempt to differentiate and appeal to consumers’ desire for premium products and a way to sell WATER for $2.00 per bottle.

Our Family Ultra Paper Towels20170228_162327

Our Family is one of Fresh Market’s store brands. This brand carries a paper towels that are ultra. Ultra-Paper Towels are a failure. What exactly makes Ultra-Paper Towels any better than their less expensive counterpart, regular paper towels? Adding the adjective “ultra” to a product and making it slightly thicker does almost nothing for the consumer’s need.

Chex Cereal20170228_162240

Cereal has always been the top culprit of slight product differentiation to take up shelf space. Chex, made by General Mills. There are six different kinds of Chex that take up one fourth of the entire cereal aisle and they aren’t much different. The added flavors and varieties do little to fill the consumer’s need for even more cereal, but it accomplishes the producers goal of capitalizing on shelf space.

Diamond Sliced Almonds20170228_1621310

To wrap up the marketing perspective failures, Fresh Market carries Diamond Sliced Almonds that are non-GMO. Diamond must know something the entire agricultural industry doesn’t, because almonds haven’t been genetically modified. Since all almonds are non-GMO, putting a “non-GMO” label on these almonds is only a gimmick to appeal to consumers’ desires. While it may be true, it holds a false connotation and spreads misinformation that only benefits the producers.


Glad Febreze Trash Bags20170228_162249

Glad researched and identified a consumer need: people don’t like smelly trash. The company added trash bags with Febreze that make your trash smell better. This might seem like a pointless product addition, but the trash bags make the room smell better and meet the consumer need.

Tostitos Scoops20170228_162438

Tostitos has developed one of my favorite marketing perspective successes. The Tostitos Scoops tortilla chips allow consumers to easily scoop salsa or other dips. This is a success, because the design of chips before did not allow for easy scooping. This chip has become a staple at any party where there will be queso or spicy salsa.

Champagne and Wine

Several champagnes and wines feature a simple wire device that allows consumers to easily pop the cork off. This consumer success was developed to make opening champagne and wine corks easier for consumers and provides a real benefit.

Campbell’s Character Licensed Soups20170228_162900

I overheard a few mothers discussing this consumer success while browsing the grocery store. Campbell’s has a line of soups shaped as cartoon characters. According to the mothers, the character branded soups get their kids to eat their food. This fills a real consumer need and is a marketing perspective success, and a character licensing success.

Dawn Power Clean Dish Scrubber20170228_162357

This last product is something that you could probably find in almost any college students apartment. Dawn’s Power Clean dish scrubber is a unique innovation that makes cleaning dishes a breeze for lazy individuals. It also helps cut down on water waste washing dishcloths. This product not only has a consumer benefit, but also an environmental one!




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