07 August 2013

Branding Baguettes

imageA New York Times piece for all folks in Advertising-Marketing-PR:

French Dining Staple Is Losing Its Place at the Table
The French, it seems, are falling out of love. Not with free health care, or short workweeks, or long vacations in August.

But with bread.

So the bakers’ and millers’ lobby put together a national campaign:

Coucou, tu as pris le pain?” (“Hi there, have you picked up the bread?”) is the campaign’s slogan. Modeled on the American advertising campaign “Got Milk?” the bread slogan was plastered on billboards and inscribed on bread bags...

But not everybody’s thrilled.  Some say it cheapens the product. Perhaps simply calling it a product and branding it as a product might be cheapening it:

brush“This campaign looks like the inside of a white baguette: insipid … It’s asking people to buy bread as part of their routine, like washing your hands or brushing your teeth. We need to talk about bread as an object of pleasure. We need to celebrate breads that make your taste buds dance.”

It’s a classic advertising conundrum.  Do you re-brand (whatever that means) a product with a generic campaign that simply increases awareness, or do you focus on the product’s qualities and (in this case) historical and cultural significance?

Both Mr. Levin and Mr. Kaplan, the historian, say the bread lobby’s campaign is more cuckoo than coucou.