Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
18 June 2019
Is the Quaker Oats brand just a nostalgic one?
Here is a sweet story about, of all things out there, Quaker Oats.
When my youngest son was in elementary school, he took a fancy to writing letters to companies whose products he adored. These, for example, were penned to Juicy Fruit, Kodak, Diamond-Back, Nintendo and the aforementioned breakfast titan, Quaker Oats.
His letters were sweet. Usually, they were simply anecdotes of appreciation. Never those on poor product performance. Nope. They were simply a kudos and thanks. A rather nice practice of my then young boy.
On occasion, these companies would send him a note back. In some instances, form letters came (I get it). In others, a box of gum followed suit. Most times, however, no response. Except for Quaker Oats. In the words of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, it “kicked it up a notch.”
Soon, a box brimming with goods arrived on our doorstep. In it were shirts and hats, a variety of oatmeal blends, and a lengthy thank-you to my son.
It was awesome. I have chills just thinking about it.
“With one act of kindness to my then seven year-old son, Quaker Oats transmitted a charge of positivity in me that I have never, ever forgotten.”
Quaker Oats brand at a crossroad
As a brand, Quaker Oats feels nostalgic for me. It’s still a viable brand as it remains the oatmeal market leader. But, now owned by PepsiCo, it’s seen its market share dwindle due to the changing trends of breakfast. People just don’t eat cereal or oatmeal like they once did. (It’s also the subject of a lawsuit claiming its oatmeal contains the weed-killer glyphosate.)
In response, Quaker Oats promotes itself as a health brand, showcasing gluten-free options, and introduces a single-serve line to help sales.
But I still think of it as a nostalgia brand.
The famous Czechoslovakia-born physicist, Itzhak Bentov whose book, Stalking the Wild Pendulum, remains a favorite of mine. In the book, he wrote on cosmic, interconnected energy, one such quote being:
When our bodies move and vibrate, these movements are transmitted to the environment, including all human and animal bodies on this planet. These fields not only impinge on our bodies, but they also affect the charges inside our bodies.
With one act of kindness to my then seven year-old son, Quaker Oats transmitted a charge of positivity in me that I have never, ever forgotten. One of love and generosity.
Does that translate to increased usage for me? It did, once. I do have a carton of it in my pantry. But I admit I’ve become one of those who have adopted to new breakfast trends, meaning cereal and oatmeal just aren’t in my breakfast considered set.
However, I do know one customer who’s remained loyal. My son still eats Quaker Oats.
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