Battlepanda: What is the flavor of Cascade Crash?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What is the flavor of Cascade Crash?

Now we have a study that confirms what marketers have known for decades -- giving your product an evocatively ambiguous name is more likely to attract consumers than a quotidien description:
They were told that each container held a different flavor of jelly bean. Half the students saw containers labeled with ambiguous names ("white Ireland," "moody blue"), while the other half saw those same containers with more specific descriptive names ("marshmallow white," "blueberry blue"). As the researchers had hypothesized, students took nearly three times as many jelly beans on average from a container that bore a vague name as from one that carried a specific name. [snip]
Why does ambiguity seem to sell? Miller and Kahn theorize that, without real information, consumers try to understand why the product has such a jazzy name and fill in the blanks with imagined desirable qualities.
The company that has taken this approach to its extreme is Gatorade. Not only are the names of many of their flavors ambiguous and non-food related ("Cascade Crash", "Riptide Rush" and "Glacier Freeze"), the very flavor-profile themselves are completely abstract. I've always thought that this was the logical next-step for food flavorings -- after all, we no longer have any actual fruit in most of our fruit flavor products. Why be tied to what Mother Nature flavor palette when it comes to jazzing up our sugar delivery vehicles?

By the way, my favorite Gatorade was Riptide Rush. The only "natural" flavor I can discern in it is grape (very weakly) and a hint of anise. I have no idea how to describe its taste beyond that. Clearly it has broken beyond the orange-lemon-grape soda paradigm. Lately all those commmercials trying to impress upon me how Gatorade is for extreme atheletes have shamed me into not drinking it anymore. I will miss its stunning modernity.

(Via Marginal Revolution)