Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bloody Zit - Mac's Convenience Stores

Bloody Zit - Mac’s Convenience Stores

Mac’s Convenience Stores knows how to reach their target market - teens. Who else is so easily temped into convenience stores? I remember when Mac’s was known as “Mac’s Milk” but who buys milk there now? When I want milk I go to the grocery store.

And have you noticed that the grocery stores are not full of teens? They are full of adults buying groceries. So the teens are a ripe target for Mac’s because the adults aren’t going there.

What did Mac’s do to really grab the attention of teens? They launched a new flavour ice-drink – Bloody Zit. Both disgusting and brilliant!

The disgusting part of Bloody Zit is obvious. The brilliance might need explanation.

It is brilliant because the teen years are the zits years. Brilliant because teens have been making jokes about zits for generations. Brilliant because any thing to do with zits is disgusting. Brilliant because teens like to be disgusting especially to parents and other adults. So the more disgusting you can be the more teens like it.

And Mac’s reaped the rewards. Sales jumped! This was a short focused campaign that directly spoke to the target market and alienated the non-targets (parents).

This campaign worked because it both was strong branding and tapped into viral marketing.

A strong brand elicits strong positive emotions from the target and strong negative emotions from those outside the target market. And the stronger the negative for the non-target group the more the target group like it.

Viral marketing is spread by word of mouth and gains a life of its own. That viral life is not controllable and you must be willing to let your market go with it. You might be able to predict some of the outcomes of viral marketing, but not all.

The viral marketing part was the unknown that teens might say about Bloody Zit. Will it become a challenge, “Who will be the first to taste it?” Will it become a badge of honour? Will it become code for some new teen phenomenon?

Want a refreshing drink? Squeeze your zits first. (Yuck, how disgusting!)

George Torok
Marketing Expert

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