What You Can Learn From Ketchup & Microchips

Imb_intellogo In 1991 Intel did something that changed the marketing world forever. Realizing that as a microchip maker, it would be very difficult to advertise their products to end consumers who were buying a machine and not a chip, Intel created a co-op marketing program. The premise of it was simple and brilliant. Instead of spending their marketing budget on their own ads, they would build something akin to a sponsorship model where they would offer cobranded marketing funds to their partners if those partners would feature Intel’s brand and messaging in their ads. Thus the distinctive Intel four note chime and "Intel Inside" program was born [click here to read a full case study].

Imb_heinz1 It’s been nearly three decades and surprisingly few other brands have taken this strategy to heart. Recently, however, I saw an intriguing ad for a fast food chain, where alongside the photograph of the fictionally juicy burger, there was a small branded plug for Heinz ketchup. "Ketchup Inside," so to speak. Unless you happen to fit into a category like my brother, or Kaitlyn, chances are you don’t consider ketchup a food group to be eaten alone. Ketchup goes with food, and it goes perfectly with some foods. Who would eat fries or a burger without ketchup?  Ketchup, like Intel, can be considered an ingredient brand.

Many of us tend to focus our marketing efforts solely on situations or messages where our brand is positioned as the hero. Sometimes it’s a much better marketing strategy to sell your product or service based on the things that it goes with. The legendary "Got Milk?" campaign realized this, and it led to some of their most popular ads like the guy with peanut butter stuck to his mouth or the one with the other kid with a face full of cookies and no milk. Sometimes the best strategy you can have isn’t to just promote what you’re selling, but to focus on what your customers use it with.

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