Commentary

5 Things That Could Transform Your CPG Brand

Consumers need your latest detergent, mouthwash, allergy medicine and high protein breakfast sandwich considerably more than they need a $7,000 OLED television that has four times the resolution of any broadcast. Yet that silly, impractical, soon-to-be obsolete TV is getting a lot more attention than your brand. It’s just not fair. 

Don’t despair. CES 2014 laid a few golden eggs that just might transform your brand and get it the attention it deserves. All you need to do is to start thinking about your brand a little differently. 

Here are five innovations from CES 2014 that caught my eye as opportunities for CPG brands:

Smarter smart TVs

We’ve been hearing about smart TVs for so long, it’s almost nauseating. But this year’s smart TVs are actually smarter. When on, they have web-like home pages versus being “dumb” monitors for your cable box. These new home screens are an amazing opportunity for CPG marketers. With fewer and fewer Millennials subscribing to cable, brands can bring original content directly to consumers. Let’s stop interrupting what people are watching, and start being what they want to watch. 

Pandora in your car

Radio is not dead. In the deluge of auto-related announcements at CES 2014 is one that really excites me for CPG brands. It’s an ad-targeting system for the 400 car models that have Pandora Radio built in (including the millions already on the road). You can now exactly target any of Pandora’s 76 million listeners you want with custom messaging. Imagine the possibility of having distinct messages for BMW drivers in California versus Honda drivers in Oklahoma. What if Pandora told us where they were headed and where they’ve been? Genius. John Wanamaker once said. “I know half of my advertising dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Well, not any more.

The iPhone-enabled CrockPot

The CrockPot was invented in the 1970s, but it was reinvented at CES 2014. In partnership with Belkin and their WeMo home automation line, the WeMo CrockPot can be controlled with your smartphone. Consumers can now start dinner any time they want, from any location. Best of all, it’s an open system ripe for your brand to exploit. 

Sen.se Mother 

My mother was a nag, but she always knew what I needed before I asked. The Sen.se Mother is the next best thing. Using a hub that looks like a Russian doll and a series of small sensors that monitor movement and temperature, “she” knows everything — where your keys are, if you took your vitamins — the possibilities are endless. She’s half creepy doll, half “how did I ever live without you?” But Mother needs friends — brands that want to help make life easier for real moms. I can imagine a line of products like refillable mouthwash bottles that remind you to rinse and floss, and vitamin bottles that reward you for taking your Omega-3s. 

IFTTT-aware devices (and frozen pizza?)

Marketers love acronyms. So here’s a new one for ya: IFTTT, which stands for “If This Then That.” In its simplest form, it’s software that triggers one event to happen from another. Say you make your frozen pizza brand work with an IFTTT-aware microwave. IF you cook that pizza THEN it gets added to your shopping list. IF you don’t buy that pizza during your next shopping trip THEN we give you a coupon. Bam, more sales, more loyalty, more PR buzz for your pizza brand.

Your CPG brand can be just as sexy and PR-worthy as the innovations at CES. You (and your agency) just need to start thinking about what kind of “software” and content you want to create to make your brand an indispensable part of the so-called “Internet of everything.” I look forward to seeing your brand in the headlines.

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