April 23, 2007
Godiva Chocolate Goes
Mobile; Why, I Don’t Know
should never go to the mall. But when six-year-old T.F. Krause has to
miss out on park night because of rain or late-May snow in Michigan, the
mall offers a nice alternative in the form of a sweet play area. So, out
of my element as it is, we go.
our last visit, we happened to be walking past a Godiva Chocolate stand
when a very excited early-20-something just had to have my
“Sir! Sir! I have to show you something amazing! Do you like
“Sure. Who doesn’t? Do
you have some that recites the Gettysburg
Boy. Was he excited. I half expected him to unveil some sort of
chocolate product that drives itself to your house, lights your grill
for you and cleans your house before offering itself up as a choco-sacrifice.
“It’s Godiva’s new mobile packaging! Now Godiva Chocolate is easier than
ever to tote wherever you go!”
Oh. Mobile chocolate. What?
Mr. Excited proudly demonstrated this easy-to-carry, easy-to-dispense,
er, thingamajiggerbobber that would end my sad days and sleepless nights
wondering why I couldn’t simply and easily carry my designer chocolate
with me everywhere.
Check one more item off the big list! Now if I could just find those old
Leif Garrett posters.
must be one of the hardest jobs in business to work in marketing and/or
merchandising for an already well-established product. You get jobs like
this because you sit there and tell some senior VP that you’re going to
be edgy and innovative. Mr. Senior VP declares that very thing “just
what we need around here,” even though he has never had an edgy or
innovative thought in his life, and bang, you’re hired.
there you are. You’ve just told everyone you’re going to make chocolate
truffles edgy. And you’re going to do this how exactly?
Your suggestion of vegetables in the center of the chocolate gets
rejected pretty quickly, and the next thing you know, you’re rambling on
about “integrating our product into people’s lifestyles” or some such
That sounds good! You are told to develop recommendations and report
back to senior management. You quickly start googling “integrate product
into lifestyle” trying to remember where you heard that expression and
find out if it actually means anything. You find a book on Amazon. It is
Today’s generation is
on the move! Today’s generation wants it now! Today’s generation . . .
Wait. When was this book written? 1983? They were saying stuff like this
back then too? Well, that’s when most of senior management last had
hair, so they should think like that too. Next thing you know, you’re
recommending “mobile chocolate.” They love it. Bids from design firms to
create the packaging are running to six figures, but you’re not going to
get kids in malls excited with brown paper bags. At least not if all
that’s in there is chocolate.
Some products just sell themselves. But Corporate America is not good at
leaving well enough alone. Even Coke couldn’t leave a good thing alone.
Zondervan keeps looking for new ways to package the Bible, for
Christ’s sake. I’m expecting The NASCAR Bible any day now.
The result of this corporate jumpiness is usually a decision to offer
new “benefits” that no one actually wants or needs. I do not need to
carry chocolate around as I’m living my oh-so-active lifestyle. It’s
hard to jog when you’re having to stop every half-mile to clean melted
brown goo off your shorts, after all.
Godiva Chocolate is delicious. Keeping it in one of those fru-fru
packages on top of the refrigerator is working just fine for me. But I
didn’t have the heart to tell that to Mr. Excited. Fortunately, T.F. was
getting impatient, so I explained that I’d be right back as soon as I
bought him a Hershey bar.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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