Recognizing 3 Challenger Brand Geniuses

When was the last time that you discovered a new product, and then realized it was only new to you? Or, rediscovered a product that you used to love, but had fallen off your radar? For me, that would be avocados. I’ve always liked guacamole, but that was the only use I had for them.

Thanks to way too many of my friends sharing Tasty videos on Facebook, avocados are now always in stock at my house. I bring this up not to sell you on avocados, or Tasty videos, but because the biggest challenge for many brands is to get noticed. For bigger brands, this can be overcome with a big budget ad campaign. For smaller brands, whether they are just starting out, or have been around awhile and want to up their visibility, this can be accomplished by deploying the classic Challenger Brand strategy of Creating a Symbol of Re-evaluation, just like Avocados from Mexico did with Tasty videos to get my attention. 

Left to their own devices, consumers will follow their auto-pilot behavior to the same shelf at the same store for their same old product, or brand choice, which is often the category leader. (For me, my bagels always got cream cheese, never avocado.) To break consumers out of this trance without spending loads of money, it’s all about choosing wisely and putting everything you have behind a single idea that will fundamentally shift consumer perceptions about your brand, creating instant relevancy and interest.



In the past few months, we have taken notice of several Challenger Brands that have deployed Symbols of Re-evaluation very effectively. Since Challenger Brands rarely receive a lot of recognition for their genius, we have decided to take a moment to recognize these Challenger Brand Geniuses. 

These three CPG brands have been around a long time, and most of us just walk by them in the store:

  • Who knew Hamburger Helper could rap?! Well, on April 1, Lefty, the HH mascot, dropped a mixtape to pretty good acclaim. How’s that for still relevant with a nod to nostalgia?! 
  • Or that Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry had so many uses?! 
  • Or that the smell of a cookie could cause so many people to confuse perfect strangers with their grandmas?! Sort of silly, but Grandma’s made you look. And if they do smell and taste great, then mission accomplished. 

We love the scrappiness of all three of these efforts, especially when you consider that they are coming from CPG giants, General Mills, Campbell and Frito-Lay.

Last year, we absolutely loved Organic Valley’s Save the Bros effort. Really fun, and great point for how easy it is to get the protein your body needs. But, this year our personal favorite Challenger Brand Symbol of Re-evaluation has got to be Pokémon Go. Six days after launching, it surpassed Twitter in daily active users! Nintendo’s stock went up 25%. It’s a fantastic mash-up of a little-used tech, geo-caching, and ‘90s nostalgia that both Gen X parents and their kids can enjoy together. Now that’s a Challenger Brand Genius!

Next story loading loading..