The Cranberry Business

This article, which is highly appropriate for this time of year, looks at the business of cranberries, and how Ocean Spray turned a small fruit into a big business.

When Ocean Spray launched its juices in 1963, it faced a second problem: getting people to buy them. And here it created the second of the cranberry's business-school case studies, teaching would-be brand-marketers to concentrate on creating demand as well as building a brand. In addition to all the usual advertising tricks employed by food companies like Kellogg's, General Mills and Kraft—catchy jingles, slogans and pictures of appetising drinks—Ocean Spray devoted a lot of energy to working out how it could get people to taste its wares. It lit upon two helpers: barmen and doctors. Barmen, it reckoned, were always looking for new drinks to entice the jaded palettes of their customers, so it created promotions for cranberry cocktails. Doctors, in turn, were given seminars and literature to tell them how cranberries could help to cure bladder and other infections, particularly in women, apparently by reducing the ability of bacteria to live within the body.

I like reading articles like this. Business magazines are always focusing on technology companies and the latest and greatest idea, but there are plenty of things to learn from business that we usually lump in the "boring" category.

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