When Nutella = Healthy 8


As any PR or marketing practitioner knows, it’s all in the messaging. Disneyland is not merely an amusement park, but “the happiest place on earth;” Visa is not just a credit card, “it’s everywhere you want to be;” and now thanks to a new ad campaign Nutella is no longer just a delicious, chocolate treat, it’s “what mom’s use to get their kids to eat healthy foods.”

Excuse me? Did I hear that correctly? Nutella is marketing itself as the secret weapon in feeding children a healthy breakfast?

If you haven’t seen this new commercial, the short spot shows a mother describing to what we presume is other mothers, how she gets her children to eat healthy by spreading Nutella on foods they would otherwise push away. The advertisement gives the impression that Nutella is in fact the key ingredient to serving up a nutritious breakfast.

The ad even goes so far as to describe Nutella as a hazelnut spread with a “hint of cocoa.” Have you seen the jar? It’s full of chocolate deliciousness.

By visually positioning the Nutella jar next to pieces of whole wheat bread (repeatedly) and scripting a commercial to highlight the importance of a healthy breakfast, it would be easy for a consumer to ingest this advertisement and walk away with the exciting, new belief that Nutella is in fact a health food, all because of the messaging.

In a BusinessWeek piece about the success of Coors beer advertising, Jon Fine wrote, “To win in a market crowded with media and message, forsake the fanciful. Just repeat something extremely basic—over and over and over again.”

It seems the folks at Nutella have headed Fine’s advice. One clear message (Nutella is healthy), over and over and over again.

Why market Nutella as healthy instead of the decadent spread it really is? Because we have an obesity problem in this country and rather than add to the problem, Nutella wants to showcase itself as part of the solution.

In a recent PR Week article describing the vital importance of a direct, clear messaging (in this case for President Obama) Howard Opinsky, EVP for Powell Tate stated, “You must be offering suggestions, offering solutions, being clear about your position and the value your products and services bring to the nation.”

While Opinsky made that comment in a discussion about the importance of messaging for the President, the same holds true for consumer products. How do you become part of a solution to a problem, thereby appearing more valuable? And furthermore, how do you convince consumers that value-add is worth spending money on?

The marketers at Nutella knew that positioning themselves as a dessert product was not going to move the sales needle as well as positioning themselves as part of a healthier America.

Just some food for thought.

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