Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flew

Despite the government’s attempts to rename the Swine Flu strain (a pretty decent approach to calming unneeded panic), there’s a good brand story out there on America’s store shelves that has absolutely nothing to do with this strain of influenza. Except an awful pun.

Last year Frito-Lay introduced a new line, Flat Earth snack foods, purposely targeted at women. The up-to-the-minute brand transmits its message this way: These “Impossibly Good™” crisps make it possible to have great taste and nutrition.

The packaging and the advertising, coming out of the brand position, features a winged porker. In case it has to be spelled out for you, the play-phrase is “When pigs fly.”

It’s one of those phrases I’ve always enjoyed, even if its applicability to veggie crisp snacks isn’t immediately obvious…flying pigs, flat earth, etc. On this Frito-Lay line, there’s a reversed-out silhouette of the flying pig on every package. The print advertising I’ve seen, in Better Homes and Gardens, features a cute little Yorkshire with white wings.

The product’s gotten generally positive reviews. Though commentators suspect that giant food producer Frito-Lay may not be putting all its cards on the table health-wise, you can read several reviews for yourself, here and here.

Flat Earth is also one of the sponsors of “Only in a Woman’s World” – another involving example of how to niche-market via the worldwide web. In fact, Frito-Lay has constructed a good 360° brand effort in these veggie crisps. It’s marketing to a group of consumers that’s sensitive about health and better eating habits.

Typically, this tranche doesn’t include Paris Hilton. Asked about the virus by its common name, she’s already commented, “I don’t eat that.” She’ll probably achieve understanding when pigs fly; I trust you’ll get the title pun sooner.

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