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Marketing Suicide

Pity the poor almond.

One of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet – heart healthy, protein dense, cholesterol lowering, and it is being sabotaged by its own teammates.


Let me explain.

The Almond Board of California (ABC) is the big Kahuna in the Almond world. Why? Because California produces 100% of the U.S. commercial almond crop and 80% of the world production. It is California’s #1 agricultural export – this in a state that produces a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. (The Maoist droids in Sacramento haven’t been able to destroy that yet…but I digress).

The ABC recently launched a major tri-channeled marketing program to promote…what else, almonds.

They based the program, they said on extensive market research and focus groups. The focus group research formed they said, “…the basis of the new campaign.”

At this point, reading the report, I start to get apprehensive as focus groups are a notoriously ineffective way to conduct market research or surveys. Some people in the focus group are influenced by others, the survey sample is too small, some people like to hear themselves talk and…you get the idea.

And what was the slogan the market research company developed from the focus group to promote one of the healthiest, most nutritionally dense foods on the planet?












No, wait. It gets better.

There are a series of commercials that were produced following this research. The purpose of a commercial should be to get the viewing audience to want almonds.

Here’s a link to one of them. Three guys are sitting around the living room – they want to watch the football game. They can’t find the remote control. The wife who is labeled an almond snacker walks in and shows them that the remote control is in a drawer.

She walks away eating a couple of almonds.


Here’s another one. A couple is standing in a supermarket aisle looking up at a bag of flour high on a shelf. They are uncertain about reaching it. A store employee appears on a rolling cart. He’s labeled an almond snacker. He stops, reaches up, grabs the flour and tosses it to the husband and rolls away.


There’s more, but I can’t take it.

My mind actually goes numb trying to figure out how it is that advertising and marketing people actually thought – OWN YOUR EVERY DAY. EVERY DAY – creates a want for almonds.

I shared the tag line with a couple of people. They stared at me like I was daft.

And then you have the members of the Almond Board of California who signed off on the commercials.

I mean, were there adults who actually paid money for these commercials thinking they created want for almonds? Or is there someone from the Walnut Growers or the California Pistachio people who, like the infamous KGB double agent Kim Philby, infiltrated the upper strata of the almond growers and ran the program from the inside?

The Almond Board and their marketing people have got one of the most nutritious, nutrient dense snack foods in the world to work with. Instead of positioning this actual true super food with heart health, nutrition, or energy, their tag line is a complete disconnect from the product.

Just off the top of my head as I sit here, you could humanize an almond, give him some muscles, put a cape on him, big A on the chest (or him and her – make it a couple), kind of like the old time Mighty Mouse, and have the super-almonds fly around touching people on the shoulder and giving them energy and good health.

I know, silly, but kind of fun and it would stick in people’s minds.


Don’t use focus groups.

And use a company that knows what positioning is and can apply it.

That, of course, is a self-serving comment, because surveys and positioning is where we live.

Not only that, we work with some spectacularly creative videographers who can take survey results and create magic.

“The positioning that grew out of your research was nothing short of stellar. We now have a strategically researched, laser-like position that will dramatically assist us in rolling out our new brand.”
JD – President – Hotel Group

Need surveys? Call or email us.