NO LONGER JUST FOR INVALIDS

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Years ago, sickly folk were brought back to health by wonderful new drugs and cures. Previously deadly diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis were finally being beaten by scientific breakthroughs. Recuperation was aided by supplements and new products that helped patients recover.

Sparkling, pale-orange Lucozade was a way invalids could replace lost energy that had been taken away by colds, flu and other nasty ailments.

Launched in the 1920s specifically as a source of energy for those who were stricken with common illnesses, Lucozade provided a source of readily-assimilated Glucose in a fizzy, sweet-tasting drink that was easily taken by the young and the old.

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Nowadays, it’s an umbrella brand name for a whole range of multi-flavours and recipes.  Variants use names such as Sport, Alert and Revive.  No longer just for invalids, it has become a popular and successful supplement for many people seeking to reinvigorate their sports and other physically demanding activities.

That’s quite a marketing coup.  No longer for invalids alone, it has become a source of energy across a whole range of sports and other pursuits.  It’s fashionable.  It’s cool.  It’s no longer just for invalids.

Don’t put margarine on the table

Growing up in the UK in the early 1960s, a time of major change in itself, it was well known that margarine was only ever used for cooking.  It was almost shameful for it to be seen on the lunch or dinner table.  Its lower cost was no excuse to use it for sandwiches or with bread and jam for afternoon tea.  Goodness no – that simply wouldn’t do.

The rigours of the Second World War had meant that margarine was commonly in use during rationing, but as soon as peace was declared, it was consigned to the larder as a cooking ingredient only.

Then something happened.  The quest for healthier eating was just beginning later in the decade and by the early 1970s, wider use of TV and other advertising had opened-up consumers to the possibilities of using the new “table margarines” or “spreads” that were gaining in popularity.

Margarine, made of various oils and additives suddenly took on a whole new appeal.  These products could be engineered to lower fat content and thereby aid a quest for healthier eating.  Butter which had been most people’s preferred spread was restricted in its fat-lowering qualities and now faced equal bragging-rights with premium margarines often using Omega-oils, olive oils and other “healthier” alternatives.

What does this mean in marketing terms?

These two products are case studies in what some call change marketing.  Moving perceptions from bad to good.  From just for invalids, to especially for athletes.  What was restricted to the sickly few is now popular for all – what was seen as strictly forbidden on the dinner table, is now highly sought after, and often at premium prices.

Changes in our culture and society will often drive changes in attitudes and perceptions.  Necessity can be the mother of invention but sometimes fashion can play a large part in how our buying habits change.

What does this mean to our marketing plans and strategy?  Well, we don’t all sell consumer products but we all have consumers.  Customers or clients to whom we should stay close, and keep watch on their changing aspirations, desires and dreams.  As marketers, we must always listen to our audience and ensure our product offerings maintain a solid alignment with their buying potential.

Like Lucozade and Margarine, we should never ignore change wherever that may occur.