The fast moving consumer goods industry likes chaos. For the industry professionals, each product that is newly added to the product portfolio presents an opportunity to increase sales. Such an opportunity sometimes emerges by the mere fact that new consumption occasions are created for existing products. Brands can further engage their existing consumers to themselves or draw new ones closer to their brand through new products or new occasions for consumption.
A new product or a new consumption occasion is also a new marketing opportunity for a brand. For that reason, sometimes brands do create variations of even their familiar products. They evoke themselves in the consumers’ mind with variations in flavor, scent, texture, packaging or color, in order to distinguish and differentiate themselves. Such variations can sometimes be created by challenging traditional practices, just as in the case of Pasifik, the fizzy ayran [ayran with sparkling mineral water] by İçim. Each new product added to the portfolio, even though it is one that will eventually cease to exist, is leveraged as a marketing tool by the brands to promote innovation and technology.
Creating new occasions for consumption can be as efficient a tool as developing a new product. Well-tested consumption occasions created for a specific product might grow into consumer behavior, if marketed properly. These very same occasions, if devised in a way that challenges traditional practices, might increase shelf appeal by arousing interest. They can render the brand to be memorable in the consumers’ mind.
Then, to what extent do the consumption occasions that fall outside of the consumers’ traditional practices in Turkey evoke interest?
The “Tuna your Rice” campaign by Dardanel we have been seeing around for quite some time and the jingle of which we have been hearing a lot, has captured us in an instant. We were curious about how encouraging consumption of a specific product, that which is not customarily consumed together with rice, [to be consumed] together with rice everywhere would affect Turkish consumers. We had been hearing the comments of people around us and reading reviews on the social media but we wanted to conduct a thorough research on the subject matter. We have asked about the “Tuna your Rice” campaign to a total of 206 female and male consumers, 16-45 years of age, from ABC1C2D socio economical statuses, living in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
62% of the 206 consumers we interviewed were already in the habit of consuming tuna. When we asked about their ways of consumption, the majority (67%) said they were “consuming tuna within salads”, secondarily, 43% said they were “eating tuna on its own” and then came the consumers who “ate it together with pasta” (26%). The percentage of consumers who said that they were consuming it together with rice without being asked specifically about it, was 2%. Thus, it could be argued that rice does not constitute an occasion within the perception set of tuna consumption.
When we asked about the “Tuna your Rice” advertisements, we have found that only 26% of the consumers have seen/heard them. When we asked the ones who had seen the ads, whether they had considered trying to eat tuna together with rice after seeing the ads, 11% said that they had tried it with rice, 3% said that they had considered trying it with rice but that they have not done so, yet and 87% said that they did not try to consume it with rice.
When we asked the 77 consumers who do not commonly eat tuna whether they had considered eating tuna upon seeing the ads, 27% confirmed that they actually did.
When the consumers were asked about their opinions regarding the campaign, the overall response was generally positive. 1 out of every 4 consumers said that the combinations that were demonstrated were nice/edible (“It might work. In the end, rice is something local, something native to us. I believe it may be good.”). 10% said that they could not match it together with rice. 9% did not like the idea, at all (“I believe it is not relevant in terms of culinary customs, it does not appeal to me”, “I do not think it will be a good match. I can not imagine rice with fish, that is something that belongs to the Japanese cuisine”).
One other topic we wanted to research, apart from how much the consumers liked or embraced the idea, was the fact that new consumption occasions do arise interest and are taken into consideration or talked about. When we examined it thoroughly, we have observed that, even though they were polarized in their opinions, the participants were open to new propositions. When we asked how they felt about being encouraged to consume a product with rice - that they generally were accustomed to consuming with pasta – 34% of the participants said that it was good that the brands suggest new tastes, 13% said that people want novelties in their lives and hence new combinations should be suggested and 10% said that alternative tastes have to be introduced to appeal to different palates.
We can deduce from the results of the research that the Turkish consumers are ready to be persuaded even about something as debatable as taste. The more occasions the brands create that would beget polarization, the more successful they can be in getting the consumers to sample new occasions. It is not for the consumers to know what they want but the bold moves by the brands in creating new domains ensure that the brand is being talked about. If Dardanel Ton is bold enough to enter new domains, it is self-evident that in the long run, the product would penetrate into a wider domain than usual and increase its frequency.