When you have three children, as I do, you go through a lot of cereal. You also tend to be asked the same question over time: would putting orange juice on cereal taste good?
Just a few weeks ago, in fact, my daughter asked me if I had ever submitted milk for one of her favourite beverages at breakfast. The answer is no, I told her, because it would be gross. I had no idea that Tropicana Crunch would soon be hitting the shelves.
As I write this, Tropicana Crunch is scheduled to be released on May 4th, which is apparently National Orange Juice day. In a press release, the Florida-based company says the cereal will be based upon honey-glazed almond clusters. Going by the images on the box, it looks a little bit like Rice Crispies.
“Some call it weird. Some call it breakfast. We . . . didn’t even know it was a thing,” the press release said. “Because whether you hate it or love it, you won’t know until you try it. It may not be for everyone (but it could be for you!).”
At the risk of over-analyzing a piece of marketing copy, I highly doubt the Tropicana team had never heard the idle speculation about putting orange juice on cereal. On an Instagram post, it cites an unattributed stat that 15 million people have tried it in the past.
The launch of Tropicana Crunch could be considered a stunt, but the company prefers to describe it as an “unforgettable breakfast experience.” And I agree.
Every new product is, to some extent, an invitation to an experience. Tropicana Crunch is a more customer-centric invitation than most, however, because it provides a direct answer to a highly common question. Acknowledging it could taste awful to some enlarges the blank space that the cereal is designed to fill.
Companies also take their existing products and put them into new contexts all the time. I once toured a Harley Davidson pop-up store in a trendy urban shopping district, for example. I’ve watched tech companies show demos of their applications and devices in wineries and other unusual settings. The difference with Tropicana Crunch is that it is putting the product in a context many have already imagined but haven’t necessarily explored.
This may be a way of achieving a neurological state known as immersion, which was discussed in a recent article published in the MIT Sloan Management Review. Here’s how he explained it:
(Immersion involves) binding of the neurotransmitter dopamine to receptors in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This alerts the brain to pay attention because something that may be of value is nearby. The second component is the release of the neurochemical oxytocin from the brain stem, triggering emotional resonance with the experience one is having.
The result, according to the researcher, are customer experiences that are more emotional charged, memorable and even valuable. One of the activities immersion has been found to generate a mood boost is eating something sweet, the article added. Like honey and orange juice, for instance.
Even if Tropicana Crunch doesn’t find a wide following, in other words, the cereal could enhance Tropicana from a brand perspective because it uses CX to let customers discover something about themselves. Give people what they know they want and you might achieve customer satisfaction. Give them what they’re like to at least try once, and you might establish the kind of relationship that drives real loyalty — maybe even as loyal as the habit of eating breakfast every morning.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.