retail news in context, analysis with attitude

This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

You may remember that a few weeks ago, we had a story about how Kraft Foods did an exclusive deal with Target - they were going to make a special Oreo cookie for Halloween, with a vanilla biscuit and a candy corn-flavored filling. And it was just going to be available at Target.

Now, I try not to eat many Oreos anymore, and it will take all sorts of will power to not eat buckets of candy corn when it comes out around Halloween. But I have to admit, this new Oreo had me intrigued. As I said here on MNB, I felt professionally obligated to try one or two. Market research, y'know?

So recently, when I found myself near a Target, I pulled my car into the parking lot, got out and went in. I never would have done so otherwise - so on that score, the exclusivity arrangement was doing its job.

I walked up and down the aisles, searching for the cookie section. I found it. Then, I went looking for the Candy Corn Oreos, and there they were - buried amid all the other various kinds of Oreos, with absolutely nothing done to distinguish them just weeks before Halloween, or to point out that this was a Target exclusive, or anything else.

There was absolutely nothing done to make distinct something that should have been distinctive. There weren't even any of the Candy Corn Oreos on the various Halloween endcaps and displays. Nothing.

My point here is not to pick on Target. Because I'd be willing to bet that there are a lot of retailers that would make the same mistake. But I do think it is worth pointing out that when you have something unique, or exclusive, or distinctive, or differentiated, it is your job as a retailer to draw attention to the damned product! Sell, damn it!

This is hardball. Increasingly, everybody is selling what you sell, and everybody wants a share of your sales and a share of your customers's stomach. You have to fight back to be as differentiated as possible. and while subtlety is to be admired sometimes, this is a case where Target missed the boat.

For the record, I bought the cookies. Not bad. Tasted more like cake than candy corn, but not bad. And certainly a product that you'd think could be a big Halloween seller, if someone would actually take the trouble to try to sell it.

Anyway, that's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: