Stories about other brands are often told in marketing meetings, usually with admiration and perhaps with embellishment, and three of my favorite potentially apocryphal tales involve Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, the Ford Edsel, and the Honda Element. They go like this:
- Pepperidge Farm once marketed its Goldfish crackers as a bar snack, but noticed later that moms were buying the crackers in spades for their children. So Pepperidge Farm refocused the Goldfish brand on kids, even adding a smiley face.
- Ford launched the Edsel after much market research found the “best” designs for each auto component desired by consumers. However, when adding the favorite tail fin to the favorite hubcab, Ford ended up with a really ugly car, the Edsel launch bombed, and Ford went into rapid redesign mode.
- Decades later, Honda followed suit with an auto success, but also made a mistake. It originally marketed the boxy Honda Element to early 20somethings, with a wink-wink campaign talking about fully reclining seats and images of the tiny SUV parked on beaches by the ocean. But sales took off among dads in their 30s and early 40s who found the small SUV perfect for hauling kids.