WELCH’S DID A FANTASTIC JOB in pushing out the information that it now offers two versions of Graham Slam, a smartly
named frozen snack featuring the popular combination of Welch’s jelly and peanut butter, within two graham crackers—
at least to me. Frankly, it sounds delicious.
Over the course of a couple of weeks
in March, I saw a commercial for the new
product more than a dozen times, each
one suggesting that I look in my favorite
grocer’s frozen snack section to purchase
the item, which is available in two flavors:
grape and strawberry.
I did and the product was nowhere to
be found. In fact, I went
to six different supermarkets (five different banners) and could not find
the product anywhere.
For a peanut butter
and jelly connoisseur
like me, who is always
on the lookout for that
something better, it was
a huge disappointment.
Now, I am certain that
Welch’s will eventually
get the product into dis-
tribution channels and onto more super-
market store shelves. In fact, I bet it will
happen soon. But all that money the com-
pany spent on notifying the public about
Graham Slam may have gone for naught if
my experience is the norm—or even close
to the norm.
Though I am not privy to Welch’s marketing strategy, it seems the company may
be relying on an approach that focuses on
consumer demand to force retailers to
stock a product. In other words, build a
strong advertising program; get consumers to yearn for the item and start asking
for their favorite store to carry it. Retailers,
they assume, will quickly react, call their
Welch’s rep, and get the item in store.
Great idea, but it does not always work
and it is a pretty expensive gamble, especially given the fact that the typical consumer’s memory span is about 40 seconds, and if they do not see an item in a
store once or twice they will stop looking.
The other approach, of course, is to
get retailers on board with the product
before launching any type of advertising
blitz, and soon after introducing the item
to the trade. That way, consumers who
want the item will find it in their favorite
Regardless of the method, suppliers—
whether they are selling food products or
nonfoods products—need to learn that
creating a successful product takes a lot
of creativity, backed by a well-developed
process to both build consumer aware-
ness and to convince space-limited retail-
ers to give the item a shot. Otherwise, it
is simple throwing good money into the
THE DOWNSIDE OF INTERNET SHOPPING.
My son recently purchased three golf
shirts, online, from a major sporting
goods retailer for his summer career as
a golf caddy. Days later they showed up,
but one of the three shirts still had the
security lock attached. I called the near-
est store location and asked if I could
bring the shirt in and get the security
lock removed. The woman that answered
To be safe, I brought the receipt and put
the shirt in a bag. I walked directly to the
first cashier, explained the situation and
gave her the shirt. She took it away and
came back with the manager who imme-
diately questioned me on whether I stole
the item and was trying to pull a fast one
on them, even after seeing the receipt.
After about 15 minutes the manager
found the woman I spoke with on the
phone to confirm my story.
PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME?
Creating product demand takes a lot of creativity, backed by a well-developed process.
By Seth Mendelson
Seth Mendelson is publisher
and editorial director of Grocery
The other approach, of course, is to get retailers
on board with the product before launching
any type of advertising blitz, and soon after
introducing the item to the trade.