Recently, I wrote of my interest in branded commodities and provided some fine examples of how this complex form of brand management can be done correctly. In the “never do this” category, I must now offer the other end of the spectrum:
There are a number of problems with the, um, “imagineering” on this freshly hatched idea.
First, “branding” a commodity does not mean stamping a character image on it (at least it hasn’t since about 1960). The objective would be to differentiate the product itself through some heretofore unrealized functional or emotional benefit (more on this later). Second, the visual brand assets deployed here are destroyed by use — both by cracking the egg and eating the final product. Third, kids are widely known to absolutely love runny things, like sunny-side-up eggs, so we’ve a bit of a “product performance” issue here.
The real problem, though, is the “anti-branding” going on here. Let’s quote, just for fun: “Disney eggs are filled with delicious flavor, plus protein, choline and omega-3.” Just to be clear, that means that Disney eggs taste like, um, eggs and have the basic nutrition, vitamin B complex-related enzymes and fatty acids of any other egg. Kids eat this stuff up, especially when it's presented in a chirpy voice (can I get clearance for an airplane landing, Clarence?). So, there is absolutely no functional benefit. Fine.
Let’s move on to emotional benefits. What happens to my beloved Mickey? Well, sweetie, his skull gets crushed with a pan-side crack, and then he gets thrown away. He’s brained and shattered in an act of kitchen terrorism beyond par. Not a single chance of blood-curdling shrieks here. Children don’t often play with raw eggs to good result, so that’s out too. But wait — we get to cook our own Mickey-shaped egg. Salvation, right? Fun, right? Not so fast. That Mickey egg form isn’t included, so I’m afraid alongside those character corpses and runny eggs treats, we have a side serving of disappointment two or three times over as our emotional benefit. Awesome.
My favorite bit of this stellar effort: the tagline. The quality of most work, I believe, can be determined by the tagline (hint: most taglines are horrid). Is it about me, the consumer? Or is it selfish and about you, the advertiser? Is it helpful and memorable? Or is it generic to the point of instant dismissal? You be the judge for Disney: “New Disney Eggs: Great tasting, nutritious and fun, too!” There’s just one final problem, all summed up here: two of these feature/benefit gems are definitional of the generic commodity, and the third is a lie. Unless Disney considers Mickey murder, “ooh gross” eggs, morning tantrums and soul-crushing disappointment to be fun.
One can only wonder where the intern charged with the concepting, project management, creative direction and final approval of this embarrassment is today. Perhaps preparing for the launch of a Dora The Explorer-branded “My First Brazilian” waxing template? She is Latina and now a ‘tween, after all, so the demographics look spot-on! There’s another fool-proof one for ya. (Hurry, focus group that baby and get it on shelf ASAP).