Creating and marketing a new product? Change the salience

Two Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice creams. Original chocolate and “Five” milk chocolate, named appropriately for being made from five ingredients.

The ingredients in Five are
1) Skim Milk
2) Cream
3) Sugar
4) Egg Yolks
5) Cocoa Processed with Alkali.

The ingredients in the original are
1) Cream
2) Skim Milk
3) Sugar
4) Egg Yolks
5) Cocoa Processed with Alkali.

The same five ingredients subtly rearranged. Ta-da…A whole new product created by altering the salience of a product feature from the overall brand to the actual ingredients. Five has been a very successful product. One interpretation of its success is the public’s new appreciation for simplicity. The product is supposedly inspired by Michael Pollan’s rule to not eat foods with more than five ingredients.

Simplicity may be more appreciated today, but the behavioral mechanism making this product work well is salience. Häagen-Dazs activated that appreciation by changing the salience.

Häagen-Dazs advertises Five as an “All-natural ice cream crafted with only five ingredients for incredibly pure, balanced flavor… and surprisingly less fat!” It does have less fat (and fewer calories), but not because it is made from five ingredients. It has less fat because it uses more skim milk and less cream than the original. To make that easy to see, you’d want to change the salience to something silly like Skim Milk Chocolate ice cream. But who wants to eat that?

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