Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eyeballs and Chicken Pot Pie

There was an article in the Sunday Times Business Section about how there was an outbreak of MacNasty salmonella which befell people who had eaten undernuked chicken pot pies. There were, like, 150 instances of this nationwide. First off, let me say hats off to the CDC for aggregating that data and figuring out the common etiology of all this salmonella. This is truly an unironic instance of our tax dollars at work.

So the manufacturers (Conagra and others, methinks) clearly know that this is a problem of labelling and communication on pie boxes, letting consumers know about the different power ratings of microwaves and how much nuking it takes for each type to kill the little boogers.


The real problem isn't just getting the right text on the box, which would satisfy Legal. No, you've gotta be sure people will read the box. Product boxes are competing for eyeballs with all the other millions of ways marketers are trying to get to consumers. The same Business Section had an article on how Nike and others are veering further and further from traditional push marketing into all kinds of ways to build customer affinity. A little salmonella might get people to sit up and read, but for how long?

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