October 02, 2005

Our Brand's Better than Yours

Food companies have long used many different approaches in their efforts to persuade consumers that their brand or product was superior to that of their competitors.

A few examples from the olden days:

Turn-of-the-century advertising for Hower's Oats stated rather frankly that if you bought bulk rolled oats from your grocer, then you could probably expect to find some vermin in your oatmeal. They were promoting their packaged product over the stuff commonly sold from barrels.

Early on, General Mills used the allure of the Betty Crocker test kitchens and the concept of "kitchen-tested" recipes to win over homemakers, even offering tours of their Minneapolis kitchens. Heaven forbid you should use a recipe that hadn't been previously tested by the "experts" in a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Bond Bread, a brand sold by the General Baking Company, put a "Bond of Purity" on all their bread wrappers. Wasn't that reassuring?

"Know all Men by these Presents that GENERAL BAKING COMPANY is held and firmly bound unto the purchaser of this Loaf of Bond Bread and hereby warrants that the loaf of Bread contained within this Germ-Proof and Dust-Proof Wrapper is made from the following Pure Food Materials, and no other ingredients of any kind: Best Wheat Flour, Compressed Yeast and Malt, Pure Filtered Water, Best Fine Salt, Pure Shortening, Granualted Sugar and Condensed Milk."

Almost a century later, the food companies play hard ball in the game of advertising, it now being quite common for one company to directly diss their competition by name.


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