I’ve always thought Simply Orange does an amazing job of consistently communicating their brand’s promise.  The message is simple: “Do not sweeten.  Do not freeze. Do not concentrate.  Just let oranges be oranges.  And let their taste speak for itself….Simply Orange, Simply Unfooled-Around With.”  Orange juice is not a complicated product, and Simply Orange is committed to making it as authentic as possible.

Many, many brands go the route of “guaranteeing satisfaction.”  Brand managers use promotional offers like this in an attempt to demonstrate that they are so confident in their product’s superiority that they will offer a full refund–or, for example, ‘buy you a free stick of your favorite deodorant”–if you don’t agree.  For the most part, it’s a great way of enticing non-users to give your brand a try, because, really, “what have they got to lose?”  The difference here is this promotional strategy is very rarely able to actually deliver on the brand promise and reinforce its positioning.

Simply Orange doesn’t believe they compete with Tropicana or Florida Natural or (fill in the blank).  They think the only competitive force is an actual orange.  If you want to buy something that truly compares to the taste you get from Simply Orange, you need to buy a bag of oranges and squeeze them yourself.  Enter the Simply Orange “Orange Back Guarantee“: “If, after tasting, you don’t agree that Simply Orange orange juice tastes as fresh as biting into a juicy orange, (they) will send you a $7.00 check good for a bag of oranges.”

What could be more authentic? What could be more simple and consistent with the brand’s promise?

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One of my favorite shows on TV right now is Top Chef. Part of my love for the show, I must admit, stems from my love for host Padma Lakshmi, but, primarily, Top Chef is great for anyone who loves and appreciates food and is completely fascinated by culinary expertise.

Now in its fifth season, Top Chef, takes a select number of America’s “up-and-coming” food-smithes (usually around 20, I believe) through a series of culinary challenges to test their knowledge, creativity, speed, execution and overall stamina. This yearly competition has not only gained the respect and admiration of the entire culinary community, but, from what I can tell, has become THE premier vehicle for promoting food brands, too.

From Swanson’s Broth to Diet Dr. Pepper, brands are cleverly inserted into “challenges,” in hopes of becoming the key ingredient in each contestant’s dish. It’s actually quite brilliant…

Take for example, last weeks episode, in which, Quaker Oats, sponsored the “Quick Fire Challenge.” Chefs were given 30 minutes to prepare a unique dish, using their assigned ingredient (i.e. poultry, beef, fish, fruit, veggies) and, of course, Quaker Oats. As I watched, it was amazing to me how many things could be derived from basic oats (which Padma smartly refers to as the “wonder-grain,” prior to starting the challenge). When I think of oats, I think of oatmeal, granola, or, cookies, not using it as (a much healthier version of) the “breading” on my fried chicken. Earth Time, quotes former contestant, Spike Mendelsohn, who agreed:

“As viewers saw on last night’s show, Quaker Oats are nutritious, affordable, and one of the most versatile foods you’ll find,” said Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Top Chef Chicago chef’testant and owner of Washington, D.C. hotspot, Good Stuff Eatery. ” From an oat-based pie crust to a spicy oat-crusted chicken, Quaker Oats can be enjoyed throughout the day, extending a recipe and your wallet beyond the breakfast table. The Quaker Oats Viewer Quickfire Challenge is a really unique way for people to showcase their culinary talents with great-tasting Quaker Oats.”

Quaker adds…

As a trusted source of nutrition for more than 130 years, Quaker Oats are an easy and delicious way to add whole grains to your diet that gives you both value and nutrition. In fact, oats are one of the most studied foods for their heart health benefits. Quaker has more than 25 years of clinical proof that the soluble fiber from oats can help lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet. At only about 40 cents per serving, Quaker Oats also provide essential nutrients, including thiamin, iron and fiber, which are lacking in most Americans’ diets.

Broadcast on a national stage with a (very) rough estimate of 2.5 million viewers per episode, Quaker Oats, was able to raise awareness of the overall health benefits of oats, as well as extend the grain’s perceived use and relevance in the mind of the health conscious consumer. And, who else but the market-dominator, stands to benefit from an increase in oat use? Yeah, brilliant…

There is no doubt, this episode will encourage me to look for more ways to insert oats in my life. And, that’s what it’s all about, right?