Kellogg’s recently released a new cereal called Caticorn.
In case you’re not a nine-year-old, a caticorn is a cross between a cat and a unicorn and is the ultimate in mythical creature cuteness these days. So naturally, they should be made into a cereal.
And not just any cereal, but a cereal that is pink and berry flavored and sprinkled with edible glitter.
Because who doesn’t need a little more glitter at breakfast time? Especially on those days you really don’t want to go to work. If that’s not an innovative way to make someone happy in the morning, I don’t know what is.
Needless to say, it got me thinking about new products. (Shocking, I know.) Pink, berry flavored, glitter covered cereal—that’s a little out there. But being “out there” is what gets people’s attention, right? It certainly got mine.
But at what point does a little off-the-wall cross the line into plain wacky? And how long can wacky products really last?
Let’s look at some info on consumer packaged goods (CPG): As shoppers, we buy the same products over and over and over again (about 150 of the same products, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review). As suppliers, the article notes, 75 percent won’t hit the $7.5 million mark in their first year of sales.1 https://hbr.org/2011/04/why-most-product-launches-fail
Just looking at those two facts alone can have a lot of people about to launch new products biting their nails and looking around worriedly. Add in the fact that you have a product that some might consider downright weird, and the odds of a successful product launch can shrink even further.
Does that mean that people with oddball ideas should just keep them quiet and leave the marketplace to more staid CPG products?
No! Obviously not, otherwise how boring would that be? Ugh. Grocery shopping would be terrible without any new products to peruse, and we’d all end up bored wandering the aisles, zombie-like, remembering the halcyon days of when new oatmeal flavors were introduced on the regular. And maybe that new flavor wasn’t our preference, but maybe we’d be willing to give it a try once in a while. Because what may seem wacky and weird to one person is innovative and amazing to another. It’s all in the eye—and taste buds, or sense of smell—of the beholder.
But if your product is a little “out there” or is so out-of-the-box it’s not even a recognizable shape, be realistic about its prospects, and be realistic about what the product can and can’t do, what it is, and what it isn’t, who it’s for, and who it isn’t for. Kellogg’s, to go back to them, for example, probably realizes that after the novelty of glitter cereal wears off, all consumers will be left with is residual glitter that will inevitably wind up in their homes (because glitter. gets. everywhere. no matter how hard you try and keep it at bay). So unfortunately (maybe?) for all of us, Caticorn cereal is a limited-time-only product. But who knows, maybe if Caticorn cereal is an off-the-charts hit it could become a regular in the Kellogg’s lineup—rather than a product that is here and gone almost as fast as its mythical counterpart.
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