Shredded Wheat, Honestly

As I was catching up on my reading yesterday, there was a quote in an article which resonated although not in the way the speaker might have hoped.  A brand manager for Shredded Wheat was talking about how his product is basing its new campaign on simplicity (one ingredient) and lack of change (how can you change the one ingredient??).  While I think the campaign is fine, I quibble with this quote:

“There’s been a marked change in American values, with a greater desire for honesty, trustworthiness and security during a time of economic and societal uncertainly…”

I disagree.  Those values have always been there in consumers’ minds.  What’s changed is sort of related to Maslow’s hierarchy.  As people’s economic lives are threatened, the reliance on their very basic consuming needs becomes more visible although those needs have always been there.   There is no “greater desire,” just greater visibility on the surface.

Did anyone you know accept that his Lexus dealer was dishonest because the car was so good?  No.  Marketers who ignore the very basic tenets such as honesty and the other things delineated above are in deep trouble.  While they may talk about a lot of other issues in their campaigns, I believe all consumers want to be able to assume that the ad is honest, the advertiser is honest, and the product is trustworthy.  No amount of great marketing can overcome a bad or dishonest  product.  The same is true of your business even if you’re in a service area.  Am I off base here?

As an aside, we drove right where the wild fires are in Myrtle Beach last week.  Let’s think good thoughts for the folks down there.

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