Today’s Machining World Archive: March 2010, Vol. 6, Issue 02
Malcolm Gladwell is the writer I’d like to be when I grow up. His new collection of articles, What the Dog Saw, mostly written for the New Yorker magazine, sets the standard for journalism in current publications.
He wrote a piece about why branded food products like ketchup and tomato sauce are successful or get ignored.
He spent a significant portion of the article on Prego tomato sauce, which is a Campbell’s product. The brand was sagging several years ago when they went to a guy named Howard Moskowitz, who analyzes why people like a food item and continue to buy it. He discovered that folks liked Preggo’s sauce a lot, but they also liked other sauces with slightly different flavors. This information inspired Campbell’s to come out with different varieties of Prego—with mushrooms, chunky tomatoes, basil, etc. Over the years, Campbell’s marketed 20 different varieties of Prego and greatly expanded the brand.
On the other hand, H.J. Heinz has been building its ketchup brand for a 134 years, but has rarely tinkered with the basic flavor that defines the food category. Heinz is ketchup, though there are many tiny tomato “catsup” brands begging for notice in gourmet shops. Heinz’s big innovation was the squeeze bottle, which has boosted sales dramatically because kids love the control it affords.
I’ve had the dream of Today’s Machining World becoming as ubiquitous as Heinz ketchup in the industrial community, but I realize that it’s not everybody’s taste.
But I’m going to continue to make it unique and eclectic, with some sugar and vinegar and saltiness. Each issue is a little different, but I hope we will earn your loyalty to our brand.