Category Archives: Product


Outta this world

Egg-laying woolly dairy pig

The Germans have an expression for something that tries to do everything, ‘eierlegende Wollmilchsau’, which I have loosely translated in the title of this post. Many brands fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. It’s a kind of ‘throw in the kitchen sink and toilet as well’ philosophy to make sure every possible benefit is covered … Continue reading


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Flavour of the month

This year, the hey-be-cool food and beverages trend in Germany has to have been elderberry. It actually got underway in 2012, if not earlier, but in 2013 I think the product life cycle really gathered momentum. Holunder – German for elderberry/elderflower – first caught a wider audience’s imagination in trendy bars with a drink called Hugo, a sparkling wine or … Continue reading


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Maybe it’s over

Continuing the recent theme regarding the English prefix Mc and its use in German brands, let’s zap to England. I’m not sure how, but the German prefix über (‘over’, as in Übermensch, the etymological root of superman) crept into English a couple of years ago. Its use is the same. So a person can be uber-cool, uber-careful, etc. Pronounce it … Continue reading


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McWhat?

I noticed a long time ago that the Germans like to poke fun at the Scots for being thrifty and tight with money. It seems to be acceptable here, more so than mocking the Swabians. But when it comes to the use of “Mc” in some brand names here, it took a lot longer for me to feel what the … Continue reading


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I swear it’s effing good

Fucking Hell. Not the sort of thing you’d say to order drinks. When I first found a German alcohol brand using the F word, albeit in German (Ficken), I did wonder at the time why brands have to deliberately shock the buyer. At least the first example used the German word, and it was legitimate, in the same way FCUK … Continue reading


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Washes whiter

How do you update a brand without making it look like what you had before wasn’t perhaps as good as you were making it out to be? For years people mocked the iconic Persil for claiming it washes whiter. What, like it didn’t wash white before? And what is ‘whiter’ anyway? The Unilever/Henkel people are familiar with the headache of … Continue reading


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Packaging signals

I have Johannes to thank for this latest example of a German company realising that many customers judge you most by the part of the marketing mix they see most often: P for product, in this case even P for packaging. Pickled gherkins are big in Germany (the market, not just the products). I see as many on shelf here … Continue reading


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Don’t copy me

What do you do if a competitor copies your brand name? Normally: blast them out of the water. But check your facts first. The German brand Löwenbräu will be familiar to beer drinkers in many countries of the world. In Germany there are two Löwenbräu’s, however. So which one is the rightful brand owner? The answer is both. The original, … Continue reading


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Country of origin marketing

It’s common in business to business for companies to play up their heritage. As any German engineering company will tell you, the label “made in Germany” is an instant door opener to many export markets. It can also work in non-BtB markets, as long as you understand the audience. On a recent trip to Slovenia, my eye was caught by … Continue reading


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Are Web 2.0 customers always right?

Two recent examples of how listening to the much revered customer does not always go right – especially if they take over your marketing for you! And using Web 2.0 and inviting online junkies to define tactics …? We’ll start in Australia. The Land of Plenty. This includes Vegemite, a yeast extract similar to (but definitely not the same as!) … Continue reading


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Colouring services

How do you market a service that nobody can see, measure or experience until it happens? Tangible products can be shown, in physical terms. Intangible things (like services) can’t. One solution some companies use is to turn the abstract “process” into something more visual. This company on the right, Müller, has decided to make its logistics “Lilac”. So it provides … Continue reading