Marketing to Babies

Chobani Packaging Image Non-Greek “Greek yogurt” peddler Chobani is, according to Advertising Age, gearing up to push their hyper-packaged melted ice cream-ish goop onto babies and toddlers.

The cause is the usual one — the system, a.k.a. corporate capitalist normalcy.

The beginning point is the refusal to countenance price-cutting:

Greek has enjoyed a price premium over regular yogurt, but that has started to erode as competition increases. Mr. McGuinness [Chobani’s chief marketing and brand officer] pledged that Chobani would not go below a dollar per cup, saying Chobani is an “aspirational” brand.

Quite so. Despite the absolute centrality of “natural prices” in Adam Smith’s classic (though not uncritical) attempt to justify capitalism, actual capitalists, as Smith knew but failed to think through, despise price competition:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

If you know your history, you know that, as soon as they were big and strong enough, major investors convinced legislatures to allow them to grow their firms to sizes and scopes that made co-respective pricing (a.k.a. inflation) the new norm. Why would Chobani give up that privilege at this late, market-totalitarian date?

From there, it’s a matter of solving and re-solving the usual business problem, competition via mushrooming, metastasizing marketing efforts within stagnant, mature markets:

The launch [of Chobani Tots] comes as the once-skyrocketing Greek yogurt category begins to show signs of maturity. Slowing growth rates have sparked a market share battle among Chobani, Yoplait, Dannon and other brands. As a result, market leader Chobani can no longer rely on overall category growth to fuel sales and must fight harder to win customers.

“It’s harder in the Greek yogurt category to lead than it used to be,” Mr. McGuinness said during his presentation. Still, the marketer sees opportunity because Greek yogurt’s U.S. household penetration is still just 37%.

The human effects include the usual expansion of marketing efforts to condition humans who cannot yet talk or think:

Chobani wants babies to go Greek. The yogurt maker, which helped pioneer Greek yogurt in the U.S., will target tykes with a new product called Chobani Tots. It’s slated to hit stores in January.

Gender Reveal Parties

My colleague informed me today that “gender reveal parties” are a big new thing among expecting parents.

Just when you think you’re inured to the march of commercialism, commodification, and the resulting culture of narcissistic idiocy and waste, along comes such a thing and knocks you off your chair once again.

These things are, of course, sponsored. Parents magazine is a property of the Meredith Corporation media (read: marketing) conglomerate. Babies R Us has obvious interests in pushing them. The corporate morning lifestyle “news” shows are onboard, too.

One wonders which is more essential to the trend, the rank, implanted stupidity or the self-indulgence.

The brainlessness shows itself in the very name of the trend. What’s revealed in an ultrasound (among other, far more important things like the existence of arms, legs, brain, etc.) is SEX, not gender. Sex is your tackle. Gender is what you’re trained to do about that equipment after you are born.

Meanwhile, as for the advancing tendency to treat child-raising as just another “consumer” experience, this quote says it all:

“The first one, we found out the sex when we had the ultrasound, the second we waited until she was born and the third we had a gender reveal,” said Ms. Wageman, a stay-at-home mom. “I couldn’t say which was best because they were all such unique experiences.”

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The Tender Years

The FCC requires local tv stations to mix a bit of “educational programming” into their Saturday-morning marketing efforts. Can you spot any differences between this, which was also usefully summarized here and the PBS-aired (and now “educational” filler on commercial stations everywhere) video below from about the 8:30 mark?

Tass was a pack of amateurs.