David Milliken's Brand Marketing Blog

Three Cheerios to Great Cause Marketing

Posted in Cause marketing, Packaging by dlmilli on August 2, 2010

Speaking of cause marketing, here is a promotion I like: Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts.

Cheerios "Helping Hearts" Microsite

What I like about “Helping Hearts” is its complete consistency with the Cheerios brand positioning. For years they have communicated Cheerios as a heart healthy breakfast option. So their charity of choice? WomanHeart, “the organization helping us provide women with free cholesterol screenings. They even went so far as to find “the only national organization dedicated to promoting women’s heart health”, maximizing appeal with their target shopper.

The cereal boxes say it all, this promotion is consistent with previous Cheerios messaging. Seamlessly tying “doing good” with brand positioning is a strong step towards consumers associating Cheerios with heart health.

Series of Cheerios "Heart" Boxes

Cheerio for now.


Tis’ the Season (For Seasonal Packaging)

Posted in Packaging by dlmilli on December 28, 2009

A long, long time ago it was the middle of 2008. One of my many responsibilities then was 2009 brand planning for Blue Moon, a MillerCoors brand.

We wanted a big promotion to support the 2009 holiday season. Our creative brief:

  • Brand goal: Floor displays at retail. But we did not want to release a “me too” variety pack like many micro breweries do for the holidays.
  • Consumer mindset: Wine is the norm during the holidays. But beer lovers want to drink beer. If only a great tasting beer would come in wine packaging perfect for sharing.
  • Lunar phenomenon: New Year’s Eve 2009 happens to be a blue moon. Apparently my gift from Mother Nature arrived early.

The winning concept: Limited edition large bottles of Blue Moon, celebrating the “Blue Moon New Year’s Eve”, as an alternative to wine for the holidays. (Ironic, now that I work in wine!)

It was to my delight, when shopping for beverages last week, that I ran into a display for Blue Moon Grand Cru – objective achieved! Packaged in a wine sized 750 milliliter bottle (24.5 ounces), with promotional graphics and special finishes, this package looks great. Like upscale wines, a few bottles were offered in wood gift boxes.

My only disappointment is the decision to release a Grand Cru in place of the regular Blue Moon beer drinkers already love. With few consumers familiar with the term, most of the label’s prime real estate describes what a Grand Cru is. That leaves fewer words to communicate how this package satisfies the beer drinkers’ desire for a beer for the holidays. Nonetheless, a year and a half later, after seeing the Grand Cru packaging in several stores, it is clearly a success.

Whether your preference is beer, bubbles, bourbon, or iced tea, here’s to a happy and safe Blue Moon New Year’s Eve.

What You Wear Says A Lot About You – Packaging

Posted in Packaging by dlmilli on December 2, 2009

Packaging is considered, by many, a brand’s most important marketing material. It is the only marketing communication always visible at the point of purchase decision. Per Fred Richards of Interbrand Cincinnati, “The brand’s package seals or kills the deal”.

What, if anything, do these packages communicate? What benefits do they offer?

Today I spent three hours discussing packaging with our supply chain, production, and design teams. We are looking to change our labels from a glossy plastic material to a high quality linen paper – a quality cue to wine shoppers. We will also tweak our graphics to look more modern. Seemingly simple changes.

Wow! How do I get my packaging to break through this overcrowded grocery shelf?

In today’s meeting, we discussed every single step (and there are over 100, from designing the graphics to testing glues) it will take to execute and launch this change. New packaging will be on shelves in just under a year. Believe it or not, our timeline is already extraordinarily tight.

By the end of the meeting we had the ideal outcome. Marketing and our cross-functional partners were aligned on the need for this project and the timeline. Now comes the hard part… we must execute each and every task on time to launch our new labels.

I predict you will hear more about this packaging change. In the meantime, please share your packaging experiences.