Branding Lessons from Ice Cream Flavours

by Ghani Kunto

Whenever we go to Baskin-Robbins, my wife would get Pistachio Almond.  To me, it’s the oddest looking ice cream.  It’s bright green with what looks like wood shavings mixed in.  I gave a little try once, but didn’t like it.

My wife always orders the same thing though: one regular scoop of Pistachio Almond.  So, finally, I gave it another try, this time while consciously holding myself back from cringing.  For some reason, that time, it actually tasted quite alright.

So now, whenever we go to Baskin-Robbins, my wife would get the extra size scoop of Pistachio Almond, just anticipate the Ghani-nibble-factor.


The number one selling ice cream flavor in the world is vanilla.  Everyone likes vanilla.  But who loves vanilla?  I’m sure there are some vanilla lovers out there, but to most people vanilla is totally likeable, but not very lovable.

Vanilla is just so damned vanilla.

So, why are brands tripping over themselves to be liked by everyone?  All competitors are cutting prices, we should too! All competitors are using this rising young celebrity as its endorser, we should too!  All competitors are not using celebrity endorsers anymore, we shouldn’t either!

I remember Burger King in the US used to follow a me-too strategy against the vanilla (McDonald’s) and BK floundered.  Burger King in Indonesia just went and be Burger King without really competing with McDonald’s, and it’s doing just fine.

Why try to out-vanilla the vanilla?


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