So I was somewhat surprised when, on the World Nutella Day facebook page, two fellow bloggers & Nutella aficionados had posted this picture of their factory visit along with this caption below:
Guess where we are? Ferrero's factory in Alba, Italy.
Unfortunately, it's not open to the public--no Nutella tasting on site!
Anyone who follows my blog will know that one of my favorite mantras of Life in Italy is that the entire country needs a crash course in Marketing101. Here we have one of the most successful companies on Planet Earth, and...no kiddie visits, no free samples, no glorious Benvenuti! from the likes of Guglielmo Wonka. If I were a marketing consultant, I would send the entire staff on a field trip over to Hershey, Pennsylvania--rollercoaster park and all--but then again, given their global success, perhaps Ferrero really doesn't need the hassle.
Well, this became quite true when founders of the (unpaid) no. 1 Fan Club and probably most successful food fan club at that, having proudly established a worldwide phenomenon of World Nutella Day, were given 30 days to cease & desist. Basically, seal it up like a heavy glass jar and, leave our brand alone, Grazie (or no Grazie as the case may be).
I cannot, for the life of me, get my head around what a short-sighted and unbelievably stupid move this has been for one great conglomerate. You want to shut down people who freely profess their love of your product, and all the while for free? To do what? Give it to an ad agency who will charge you millions to produce the same warm fuzzies? If this is not a case of sour grapes, I don't know what is.
It reminded me of the guy who made incredibly sturdy and recyclable furniture out of Fedex boxes. He, too, was told in no uncertain terms to box it up. A smart marketing exec over at UPS immediately offered him as many cartons as he'd like to keep production going strong. Lego™, in an effort to protect their brand, just allowed the Rest of the World to dilute it by forcing them to call the Lego's, 'Bricks'.
But World Nutella Day is not a moniker, like Kleenex™ or Xerox™. It's an event. Did I mention a 'free' one at that? And one that no one involved was making any money out of, besides? Simply put, it was a fun-filled, deliciously chocolately experience. So you shut them down 'cuz it's too popular?
It's no wonder I'm not a beer drinker. Not given the samples when we were youngsters, I never got truly hooked (save for during my college years, which I can't truly comment on, because I don't remember a thing). As for Nutella™, once you come out of your sugar-induced stupor, perhaps you can tell us what's really behind all this. In the meantime, I can't wait to see you in Business School marketing textbooks as a case history on 'what went wrong' - right up there with the change of recipe of Classic Coke, or Perrier's botched response to the chemical scare back in the 1980s.
In the meantime, for all you Nutella Lovers out there, I propose a boycott. And, to help you along, here's a wonderful little recipe on how to make your very own chocolate spread delight. You can even freeze it in ice cube trays and make your very own little
Lego Blocks errr...Not Nutella Bricks.
|Picture from http://thekotykreport.blogspot.it/2012/05/nutella-lawsuit-nonsense.html|