Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Empty Your Spice Cabinet

About two weeks ago, I received a small booklet in the mail from McCormick. I had never received anything from McCormick, except spices. The company had certainly never mailed anything to me. "What could McCormick possibly need to tell me," I wondered as I opened the booklet?

A quick scan of the McCorkmick mail piece revealed the following bit of new information:

Spices and seasonings expire.

Who knew? I certainly did not. I guess I may have had a hunch, but I had never seen anything to clarify the theory. In fact, to be completely honest, I will admit that there are spice bottles in my cabinet that have survived more household moves than I can count. I love to cook, but I don't cook as often anymore as I'd like. As a result there are seasonings that I have only touched while packing into boxes at moving time, only to ever touch again during the unpacking process at the new residence. There is one bottle of Cajun season mix that has been in my possession since the early 1990s, which is at least seven houses ago.

So spices and seasonings expire, huh? So says McCormick.

Much like medications and milk and other perishables, spices must be discarded once the shelf life has elapsed. It is a fact. It turns out that some spices are good for 2 years ... others for 3-4 years. McCormick had enclosed a small, detachable guide, which I suppose they expect recipients to keep in their spice cabinets or recipe boxes. The chart listed the shelf life for various types of seasonings, herbs and spices.

Wow! As a consumer, I was feeling more than a little motivated. Let's say that I felt the need to investigate my spice rack for signs of extinction. Plus, I felt a sincere appreciation for the information that McCormick had communicated to me. The booklet did not cause me to question McCormick's motive for sharing the information. The content, design, tone and style combined for only one purpose, in my estimation, which was to help improve the taste of my creative kitchen concoctions.

Double Wow! As a marketing consultant, I was feeling more than a little impressed! Prior to opening my mail, I was not thinking about spices or seasonings. Now I am.

Prior to reading the McCormick booklet, I was not about to toss any of my spice tins or jars. Now, I undoubtedly will toss more than a few. Of course, as a result of the actions that I am about to take, McCormick will sell (to me and many others) additional units of spices, herbs & seasonings. Without the informative booklet, those new sales would have been blocked by aging tins of basil and oregano, sitting in the cabinets of uninformed consumers like me.

Great marketing, McCormick! You may accept my praise in the form of dollars spent on your products.


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