grape nuts. marketing waste product to human chickens? There ain’t nobody here but us chickens. I’m o.k. but you’re not o.k. y’know just down there. Create a demand and fill it…..
Art Chantry ( email@example.com ):
Do you know what this stuff is? This, my friends, is what created the marketing industry as we know it. This humble crumbly rubbish is the actual birth of marketing. It’s called ‘grape nuts’.
A number of years ago I picked an old volume (aka – “book”) on the history of advertising in America. It told all the usual stories about the big firms, the great accounts, the vast fortunes made and lost. But, it also dedicated a certain amount of space to actual history. Early in this section, it told the story of how the marketing industry was actually created – how it was “invented” out of whole clothe (well, grain,any way).
To define what modern marketing is, you have to go back to an old maxim that is so much a part of our American thinking that it’s hard to imagine it had to be invented. the old saying inside the sales biz is: “create a demand and fill it.” So simple, So pure.
But that is a very modern concept. It didn’t exist until the turn of the last century. When it was put into practice it created the twentieth century as we knew it and is still driving our every popular discourse today. I mean, American politics would not exist as we endure it today if it were not for grape nuts!
Before grape nuts, the American breakfast experience was (at it’s best) hot food – porridge, eggs, ham. More commonly it was simply warmed up leftovers form the previous evening family dinner. That is what America was reared on, what consisted of breakfast for centuries everywhere.
In a totally unrelated field, an inventor designed a new machine that made chicken feed out of the inexpensive grain of wheat (and i believe a few other cheap grains as well. a composite machine). It processed and ground the material into little hard packed grains of crunchy nothings. He realized he had created the greatest chicken feed ever imagined in history and set about selling his new product to farmers everywhere.
Big problem? Chickens wouldn’t eat it. Dunno why, chickens are so stupid that they (according to Werner Herzog) define the essence of evil. Maybe that evil streak was focused on our inventor? Maybe they decided to pull a prank and thwart the inventor’s dream? You’ll have to ask the chickens…
So, here he was, stuck with a great machine that produced mountains of chicken feed that no respecting chicken would chew on if their life depended on it (which apparently it did). Total bust! Wwhat’s an inventor to do, eh?
Luckily, he had a old buddy in the advertising world, so he talked to him about it. His pitch must have been desperate, “man, i got this chicken feed machine and literally mountains of chicken feed that chickens won’t eat! save me!” the ad guy took pity on his pal and said, “gimmee a couple of weeks and let me think on it some. Maybe I can do something with this crap.”
So, the ad guy took home some of the chicken feed and played with it. He wracked his brain trying to, first, figure out how to trick farmers into buying it as feed for SOMETHING. Then he gave up (apparently no farm animals or birds would eat the stuff) and, secondly, began to try to think of other uses for it. He finally sat down and munched on some. It didn’t suck. So, he tried boiling it and sweetening it. He poured milk on it to cool it. He decided it was palatable enough to try and sell as people food.
Gradually the heated part went away (too slow) and the decided to create an entire new food group – “cold breakfast cereals!” refreshing, healthy, fast to prepare, good for the digestion (it’s almost all non-digestable fiber) and crunchy,too! It’s FUN!
At this point, he had created (very self-consciously) and entire new market that had never existed before. Then he renamed the stuff something cute and tasty sounding (sorta like the grape seed pits they resembled) and began to sell the product to fill this new “niche” he had created out of whole clothe. This was totally new approach to selling ; “create a demand and fill it.”
It worked like gangbusters. Before long competition popped up and the whole breakfast cereal wars are still going strong to this day. But, this new maxim began to be applied to other products as well, in fact applied to everything under the sun. Before we knew it we were being sold junk that never even knew we needed!! Amazing!!
The later defined (vance packard) “planned obsolescnece” is merely an offshoot of this maxim – “get a new model every year!” Totally unneeded products and foods and rubbish was starting to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in huge massive amounts. Money was being made hand over fist everywhere. It began to be applied to politicial campaigns. Now we have Glenn Beck. Blame grape nuts.
Another wonderful example of this sort of thinking is that (embarrassing) product from about 30 years back called “FDS” (feminine deodorant spray). A totally unneeded useless, even contradictory product that was created to simply deal with extra ad space.
When the government banned cigarette advertising, many big corporations were stuck with huge blocks of airtime purchased way in advance. They frankly, didn’t have enough product ready to actually fill all the space that they had already paid for. It was a glut of empty airtime begging for product. So, to fill the demand they purchased for themselves, they simply INVENTED FDS! Typical of a bunch of men, right? ’nuff said.
The product was rush manufactured, designed and labeled and adverts made to fill the dead sir. I’ve heard stories that it was being advertised even before the actual product had been developed. Suddenly FDS was one of the most demanded and best selling personal hygiene products in America. We are such suckers.
It didn’t last long. people had become more sophisticated and caught on to the fact that it was a stupid unnecessary insulting product in the frist place. The (then powerful) feminist movement reacted extremely negatively to it. The demand died as quickly as it was created, the fad faded. Is it even on the shelf any more? I don’t think so. But, that was ok. It fulfilled its need. It filled the dead air and made enough money for the corporation to satisfy it’s shareholders for another annum.
So, whenever you crunch down on those delightful little morsels of goodness and fiber, just remember this story. Remember the damage done by this product, how many stupid things you’ve bought and never used or eaten because some guy used his head and sold chicken feed (that was so lousy chickens wouldn’t eat it) to stupid people as a novel new breakfast food! In that process he unsuspectingly launched the twentieth century. Scary but true.
When C.W. Post invented this cereal in 1897, he was looking to produce a coffee substitute – a follow-up to the successful Postum beverage he’d developed a couple years early. What he ended up with were crunchy nuggets whose recipe was very close to first cereal ever created in 1863, Granula.
Post called his new cereal Grape-Nuts. The word “grape” stems from the cereal’s inclusion of maltose, which Post referred to as “grape sugar”. “Nuts” was a reference to the toasty, nutty flavor of the cereal.
Post promoted the cereal with an ad campaign that was considered bold for it’s time. He positioned Grape-Nuts as “the most scientific cereal in the world”. Boxes of the cereal came with the prize of an 11 page pamphlet called “The Road To Wellville” written by Post. In-store tastings and sample give-aways helped to entice consumers and Grape-Nuts became an almost instant hit.
A spin-off of the cereal called Grape-Nuts Flakes appeared in the early 1930′s.Read More:http://www.mrbreakfast.com/cereal_detail.asp?id=175