Companies have to wake up to the fact that they are more than a product on a shelf. They’re behavior as well. ~Robert Haas
I still crack up over Kyle and his perception of advertised brands. I mean, I think I’ve mentioned his Fiber One obsession a time or two. He recognizes that brand so well, he understands General Mills makes Fiber One cereal, as well as other products under the Fiber One name. In his mind, before trying the other products, they are good because it’s Fiber One. I believe I mentioned the time I grabbed what I thought was a Fiber One box? As it turned out, it was Kellogg’s Fiber Plus bars. Kyle went into this dissertation saying, “It’s not bad, just not as good as Fiber One. I love Fiber One bars!” This was in the back of the car on our way to swim lessons.
Being in marketing myself, I understand the importance of brand recognition and top-of-the-mind awareness. There are a lot of companies, whether they realize it or not, have a strong hold on children and have positioned themselves perfectly for the next generation of consumers. I mean, ever since the sample lady gave Kyle his first taste of Fiber One, I have found myself buying it in large quantities at Sam’s Club. My sister even stocked up for him when he visits her for the summer.
Fiber bars are not Kyle’s only obsession. You see, I try to avoid fast food, for myself and for Kyle’s health. We, meaning my family and myself, do not eat out a lot. It’s an expense that includes processed and unknown food preparation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do eat out, and in a pinch of running around with hunger, you just need substance, I’m not a Steve Jobs food habit extremist. Not eating out is not a choice to be trendy, but because that’s not how I was raised. My family always made home cooked meals and gardened, canned, and froze food for the winter. They also hunted and prepared the meat for later consumption. Over the years, we raised pigs, cows, turkeys and chickens. Not in large quantities, but enough for our usage. When my cousins are butchering their chickens, they always give a few. I wish I could say I don’t buy processed foods from the grocery store and I eat healthy all the time, but that’s simply not true. I could kill a box of Little Debbies in one sitting like no other. Sometimes my eating habits make Ellie Krieger’s list of how NOT to eat. As I mentioned, sometimes you need quick food and usually our compromise is Subway.
Subway has branded themselves as the healthy fast food. I’m not disputing it, but how healthy is eating salty lunch meat on a lot of bread? Well, in Kyle’s eyes, he’s eating healthy when eating Subway. Not to mention they have done a great job with their tagline, Subway… Eat Fresh! Every time Kyle sees a Subway or sees the commercials, he’ll say, “Umm Subway… Eat Fresh!” Every time! Another tagline that catches his attention is Red Robin. We don’t frequent there at all. In fact, I don’t think I ever took Kyle to a Red Robin but, without thought, when Kyle hears the Red Robin commercial he sings, “Red Robin.. Yummm.”
Now, it’s not just food that has captured the attention of this little boy over the years. There was this commercial for Geico Insurance. Every single time it came on, he would recite it word for word. It was hilarious, especially when he would say, “Ya jack wagon.” I always tried to get him on tape but he would never let me record him reciting the commercial.
Kyle’s most recent brand obsession is with the KIA Soul. Because KIA chose to have gangsta hamsters drive around in their cars it became surprisingly eye catching and funny. The one commercial with the hamsters driving around in toasters still cracks me up! The phrase they sang, “You can get with this or you can get with that”, was used by Kyle in spontaneous moments. But what really stole the show was their newest commercial with the robots in the futuristic scene. I showed Kyle the commercial for the first time, knowing he was going to get a kick out it. At first he asked me, “Aunt Heather, what is this?” But then, at that moment, Kyle spotted the top of the KIA Soul driving into the scene. What’s really amazing, Kyle recognized the car just at that brief moment when the top of the car was exposed through all the rubbish. Then, when the tennis shoe lowered from the car door and hit the ground decked out in 80’s colors and the music started to kick up, Kyle was jumping out of his seat. We were both laughing at the dancing hamsters.
Ever since that commercial struck Kyle’s fancy, he really started loving the Party Rock Anthem. One time I busted Kyle listening to the song over and over on the computer. I did manage to get that one on video without his prior knowledge. Yep, these brands have a fan in the next generation.