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.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mired in a Salad Dressing Rut

Come on, Americans. Ninety-nine point nine percent of us order the same salad dressing, each and every time. We must snap out of it ... this salad dressing rut in which we are hopelessly mired!

If you're "Ranch" you always order ranch.
If you're Italian, you always order Italian (regardless of your ethnic origin).
Honey mustard begets honey mustard.
Thousand Island ... thousand island.

Most of us have a "backup" dressing selection. It's our choice-de-deux, if you will. Truthfully though we rarely, if ever, go with it. And I'm not talking about that one time you got all wild and crazy and ordered raspberry vinaigrette. Clearly, you felt pressured to do so because you were at the pricey, white-tablecloth place. Instead, let's think about the norm ... the rule, not the exception, okay?

Hmmm - a dressing rut? If you're still a bit skeptical, just open your refrigerator. Likely, you will find about a half-dozen varieties of salad dressing. The ones that are empty or almost empty: the old faves (ranch, Italian, French, honey mustard, etc).

Those exotic flavors that you bought many months ago on a whim (honey lime, ginger pear or asiago yogurt, for example)? Untouched or nearly full. You tried one ... once ... and made a beeline back to your boring dressing.

Need more proof? Think of the last dressing that you ordered at a restaurant. The chances are you ordered one of the old standbys: ranch, blue cheese, Italian, French, Thousand Island or honey mustard. In fact, it's sad that I can click through these like a well-trained waiter from your neighborhood diner.

And the food manufacturers aren't pumping out anything new or exciting--not that I'm seeing, anyway. When was the last time you saw an ad from Kraft or Wishbone or Hidden Valley (ahem) Ranch, touting some spectacular new salad dressing? It's been years, literally, since I've seen one.

Consider their situation. Why would they risk a new product when we, Americans, are so habitual in our salad dressing behavior? As a result, we keep pouring on the same old tired dressings, and the food companies keep on making the same old, same old.


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