Friday, April 27, 2012

Really? You really believe the marketing?

It seems Nutella is on the hook for misleading advertising.  The makers of the chocolate hazelnut spread used to claim in their commercials that it's "part of a healthy breakfast".  I remember seeing those commercials and finding it funny.  Yes, they were "part" of a healthy breakfast, if it was served on whole grain toast with a side of fruit and a glass of milk.  They were then the treat part of that healthy breakfast.

This was before I became more anti-processed food, but I was never fooled by that marketing.  The first ingredient is sugar.  The second is oil.  Did people really think the spread was healthy?

Apparently, because they've been successively hit with a massive lawsuit.

Much more clever marketing comes from the major seller of coffee and donuts in Canada.  They sponsor kids' sports teams.  So, when your kids play sports, they get plastered with Tim Hortons branded attire.  Spud has just started Tee-ball, which is sponsored by them.  

At the end of his second practice, we got a letter from Tim Hortons.  It said how happy Tim Horton's was to support his team.  It also invited him to come by a store after any of his practices or games.  As long as he wore his uniform, he would be treated to 5 free timbits and a hot chocolate.

When I got home, my husband and I discussed it.  "They're doing it so that parents will buy something when they take the kids there," he said.

No, much deeper then that.  They create a habit.  If you go after every single game, it becomes a routine, which may continue long after your child is on a "timbit" team.  They hook kids young and create positive associations with Tim Hortons, tied to some of their favourite activities.  In addition to that, it serves as both advertising and a tax write off.

Clever, and they don't even have to claim it's healthy.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with nutella or tim hortons.  Nutella doesn't live in my house, but that's mostly because of my own issues and the fact that I'm afraid I'd attack the jar with a spoon.  And Tim Hortons?  We'll even occasionally take advantage of their offer.  But not blindly.  And, I won't sue them in 10 years either because I thought it was healthy.  


  1. I am encountering this form of advertising "habit" a lot lately. It does work. I have been grabbing my 44oz diet coke every morning for a week for .92 and when the promotion is over, I will miss my big cup! can I spare another .50 to keep it up? it adds up fast. Just do something mean at the sponsored place so no child will want to return. I remember a line from a Mcdonalds documentary where the author planned to smack his kid every time they drove by a Mcdonalds. It was a joke but there is some reason in that idea...

  2. Brilliant advertising. Keep the shirt in the car and stop by every time you drive by claiming game day :-).

  3. Why can't people be accountable for their own actions? Always have to blame someone else!

    Spud looks pretty cute in his uniform. I think the occasional treat is fine but after every game is excessive. I still think they out crack in their cream. It's so good!!

  4. Hee hee, I'd probably take the kids to Timmies and then eat the timbits and hot chocolate myself! Those companies are pretty sneaky... (fun fact, my Macbook autocorrect changes "Timbits" to "titbits"...thanks Apple)

  5. Ok, that's it! I throwing out that bottle of Nutella that has been sitting on my shelf. Actually, I only used it once and I wasn't really that impressed anyway.

  6. Yep, pretty much every (fast) food eatery does something like this. Hate it when marketing is targeted at kids.

    I remember the Nutella is healthy ads...and I remember thinking it was odd, esp as I read nutrition labels and ingredient lists regularly.

    Love this pos, your son is so cute in his tee-ball outfit!

  7. "Part of a complete breakfast" - such a crock! Seems like most sugary breakfast cereals try this marketing angle too - Frosted Flakes, Count Chocula...I can't believe that people fall for this.

    Absolutely, you need to teach your kids moderation about treats and trips to Tim's. Brand loyalty is a very, very powerful beast, and the marketers know that if they can get you while you're young, they've got you for life...and the next generation too.

    On a side note - I wonder how Tim's settled on 5 timbits as a suitable serving size for this giveaway. 5 Timbits and a hot chocolate would have my kids bouncing off the walls.

  8. Don't get me started. Any kind of "spin" is on the top of my "things that constantly annoy me list". But unfortunately, everything from sweetened cereal to NUUN use spin to polish their turd and adopt a innocent until accused of being guilty attitude about doing it.

    But rarely does anyone get accused. to your Tim Horton's point, I just got an email from the team mom of my son's baseball team saying that if I didn't fill out the league survey card I got last week the team would be in danger of losing their free snack bar tickets. You know, the snack bar that is filled with absolute crap? Yeah, that one.

    I shouldn't be surprised, really. But for another parent using snack bar tickets for the kids as leverage to get me to do something is insane. I though sports where supposed to teach kids about fitness? Am I alone in thinking this?

    By the way, I love Nutella. But I've always known what it is ;)

  9. Agreed! I think the nutella thing was ridiculous. There's always marketing being blasted at us, even for real heathy's our job to be responsible for ourselves :)

  10. PS: Mike's comment is GENIUS....I can't wait