In 1927, a man by the name of Edwin Perkins created the very popular product know today as Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid was a popular drink mix right from the beginning which was sold in 6 different flavors to wholesale grocery, candy and other suitable markets (The History of Kool-Aid, 2012). In 1929, Perkins and his family packaged and shipped the Kool-Aid drink mix to grocery stores across the country using food brokers. The brand name became so popular that production moved to Chicago to become more efficient.
Then the Great Depression hit. During that time Perkins needed to keep his customers satisfied and happy. In order to make the Kool-Aid brand more of a luxury item that families could afford, Perkins cut the price in half to just five-cents a packet. This allowed for the popular drink mix to continue being produced and sold, satisfying its customers. In 1953, Perkins sold the Kool-Aid brand to General Foods.
In order for General Foods to continue selling the very popular drink mix and to satisfy its customers they created the popular Smiling Face Pitcher, which was introduced in print advertisements.
In 1963, the company offered the purchase of a smiling face pitcher for sixty-cents. In this promotion they also included coupons to order plastic smiling mugs. Over 100,000 orders were received. The well-known smiling face pitcher became known as “The Kool-Aid Man” in 1975. The Kool-Aid Man was directed at children everywhere. Target marketing is a marketing mix that is tailored to fit some specific target customers. In 2011, a multi-tiered campaign was launched to reach families across all platforms.
Kool-Aid has stood for fun and refreshment for generations (Kool-Aid Sets Out to ‘Bring Back Family Fun’, 2011). The idea for this campaign is to bring back the idea of “Family Fun”. In order to reach customers of all platforms they launched a Facebook campaign, a Kool-Aid sweepstakes, and a movie night.
The sweepstakes allowed customers to enter for chances to win daily prizes along with a grand prize of a television set, Blu-Ray disc player, and a Home Theatre System. Customers could enter the sweepstakes by going to the Kool-Aid brands Facebook page. After the customer entered the sweepstakes they were given a coupon for fifty-cents off any Kool-Aid product which is a great example of a sales promotion. Kool-Aid partnered with the television network The Hub, a popular destination for kids and their families, to promote the “Family Fun” with Kool-Aid movie nights. The network ran custom spots to drive viewers to “The Hub Family Movie”, which aired on Friday nights at 8 p.m. Partnering with the television network allowed for the Kool-Aid brand to reach a much larger target market. Marketing managers must always be looking for new ways to promote its products. Keeping a fresh idea and new strategy is very important to keep customers buying.
A great way that the Kool-Aid brand promoted its drink was to give away Kool-Aid Man collectable cards in every 6 pack of Kool-Aid. The Kool-Aid Man cards were promoted on the back of every package to be used for many different things from decorations on your bicycle to memory card games. They also encouraged kids to be creative and make up their own games. The cards included the brand name on it which also promotes free advertisement. This was a great strategy to extend the life of the product with a simple promo gift. Product packaging makes a product easier to identify and promotes the brand. In order to keep its Kool-Aid brand fresh, General Foods introduced historical packaging during its 50th anniversary for Kool-Aid (The History of Kool-Aid, 2012).
Another technique that General Foods did was to start printing the Kool-Aid Man on its packaging. With the Kool-Aid Man being very popular with the children this allowed for the product to stand out which gave the company a more promotional effect than it could with get with advertising. As seen on the Kool-Aid website, the Kool-Aid Man is still a very popular figure for the brand. Over the years of the popular drink mix, the Kool-Aid brand has gone through different product life cycles. The first cycle, market introduction, was first introduced into the market when Perkins first sold the product to wholesale grocery and other suitable markets. The market growth stage was seen by 1931 when the demand for Kool-Aid was so strong. Perkins had to move the entire production of his product to Chicago to be more efficient.
The third product life cycle, market maturity, occurred in 1950 when Perkins had to expand the factory and employed nearly 300 production workers. Finally the sales decline happened during the Great Depression, which is when Perkins was forced to cut his price in half to offer Kool-Aid as a luxury that families could afford. Looking back at the history of the Kool-Aid brand and how the company targets its market with its campaigns and sweepstakes, shows that they have been a great success and continue to improve on their name.
While managing the Kool-Aid brand over the different life cycles, it has been able to keep its products on the grocery store shelves for its satisfied customers. Keeping their packaging fresh and coming up with new ways to promote their product has been a very impressive tool. Looking at the way that Kool-Aid has marketed their product could help teach other companies how to become very successful.